Former Iowa All-American Jared DeVries has seen many a savior come and go during his 11-year career with the Detroit Lions.
DeVries, a 32-year-old defensive end, was present the last time Detroit played in the postseason in 1999. He was there when the franchise hired — and later fired — president and general manager Matt Millen. He also was there in 2002 when the Lions drafted Oregon quarterback Joey “Blue Skies” Harrington and four wide receivers in the first round of five successive drafts.
The Lions now are on their seventh coach in DeVries’ tenure, second-longest on the team. The team picked first in last weekend’s NFL draft by virtue of its historic 0-16 season in 2008. So, that background also should give DeVries an open microphone for cynicism about his team. Instead, he chose optimism.
Detroit picked Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall. Stafford signed a six-year contract worth up to $78 million in incentives, including $41.7 million in guaranteed money. That’s the largest guarantee in NFL history. DeVries told the Detroit Free Press that drafting Stafford made sense.
“It’s a good pick,” DeVries said. “Everybody felt we were going in that direction. You never know until draft day, and hopefully he’ll be a good quarterback for us.”
DeVries, however, joined the multitude of veteran players displeased with Stafford’s deal.
“”I think we as players kind of messed up, and we need to fix the system,” said DeVries, who reportedly will earn $1.3 million this year. “Rookies are getting paid entirely too much without playing a down in the NFL.”
DeVries suffered a broken left hand in the Lions’ ninth game against Jacksonville. He sat out one game, then returned only to re-break it against Tampa Bay. He had season-ending surgery two days later.
DeVries, a former Aplington-Parkersburg all-state running back
, had 45 tackles, two sacks, defended four passes and recovered one fumble last year in 10 games — all starts. He had his best season in 2007, when he started 14 games, recorded 54 tackles, notching 6.5 sacks, recovered and forced three fumbles and notched one safety.
MAYOCK ON GREENE
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said former Iowa running back Shonn Greene has a solid opportunity to play this season for the New York Jets. The Jets moved up 11 spots in the third round and traded three picks with Detroit to select Greene with the third round’s first pick.
“I had him late (round) two, mid three, so that’s about where I thought he’d go,” Mayock said. “I think it’s pretty exciting for him, growing up in New Jersey and now being joined at the hip with (top draft pick quarterback) Mark Sanchez. I think that’s an exciting opportunity.”
Greene, 23, could step in and play right away with the Jets. Starting running back Thomas Jones, 31, rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, but is sitting out all off-season workouts.
“I think what (drafting Greene) does is provide them with an insurance policy,” Mayock said. “Thomas Jones is getting older and wants a new contract. Ultimately, I think (Greene’s) a really good fit with Leon Washington.”
Last year Greene won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to the nation’s best running back. He was a consensus All-American and rushed for 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was the fifth running back selected in the draft.