Matt Millen was a hell of a linebacker in his day. His instinctive play helped the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins all win Super Bowls. When the Detroit Lions hired him in 2001 to be the president and CEO of the franchise the theory was those football instincts would translate into personnel moves that would help turn their fortunes around. Instead he used his instincts to draft four wide receivers in the top 10 and quarterback Joey Harrington. After 8 long seasons of losing the Lions finally parted ways with the former linebacker.
At first I felt sorry for Matt. I thought the underachieving players were to blame for the Lions lack of success. Why not have 3 pro bowl wide receivers and a strong armed quarterback to get them the ball? Why not have the league's most explosive offense? Never mind neglecting every other position on the field if a wide receiver is the best player on the draft board when you make your selection. The wide open offense could have worked if the players were capable of executing the plan.
I thought all of this until I listened to Matt Millen talk about the NFL combine last night. When asked about the importance of the combine Matt's response was,"The combine is just to validate what you already know about a player. The real analysis comes from watching film and the interview process." FALSE! TOTALLY FALSE! The NFL combine was established so that presidents and GM's could expose the strengths and weaknesses of potential NFL players. Watching film doesn't tell you how strong a player is or how fast they run. Watching film only tells you how a player performs when their the best player on the field. No wonder Matt Millen drafted all those receivers. He probably didn't take the time to realize they looked good on film because the corners they were playing against were small and slow. The combine reveals those types of things and good presidents and GM's use that information in their selection process.
As a fantasy football participant I am convinced that I could have done a better job of running the Detroit Lions than Matt Millen did. The Ford family should be ashamed of themselves for allowing an incompetent fool to run their organization for 8 years. It is clear that his storied playing career had no influence an his talent assessment abilities. After watching Matt Millen talk about how unimportant the NFL combine is I completely disregard anything he has to say. ESPN and the NFL Network need to let that guy go. Hopefully other NFL teams have learned their lesson about the Millen "philosophy" and we won't have to go through the Detroit experience again. That guy is no Pete Carroll!