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10 Free Agent Targets for the Lions

Contribution By: Michael Pawlak

1. Jarius Byrd, Free Safety, age 27: 

The Lions opted to part ways with Louis Delmas going into free agency in 2014. This move leaves a huge hole in the back 7 of their defense. Jarius Byrd would be the absolute home run addition if they want to spend some money here. Byrd has emerged as one of the elite safeties in the game and can play both FS and SS. At 27 years old, he is right in the prime of his career and could pair up with Glover Quin as one of the most destructive safety combinations in the NFL. I’ll Keep on dreaming here, Byrd will command top dollar. 


2. Alterraun Verner, Cornerback, age 25:

Lets make no mistake about it, the Lions NEED a true #1 cornerback. This has been a gaping hole since I picked up the heroin needle that is Detroit Lions football 23 years ago. The Lions could try to get a potential  lock down cornerback on draft day, with Justin Gilbert, and Darqueze Dennard likely to be on the board at 10. Verner is only 25. started since he came into the league for the Titans, and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. This would be a bold move by Mayhew, but what better place than here? What better time than now?


3. Aquib Talib, Cornerback, age 28:

Talib really prospered over the last 2 seasions with the Patriots. He is known to be a versatile player that can cover the slot or the outside. There are some red flags concerning his character. It took the New England Partiots to turn this talent into production on the field. Unfortunately the Lions aren’t the Patriots.The overall ability that he possesses is intriguing (Talib would immediately be the #1 CB here),  but there is a lot of risk here. 


4. Vontae Davis, Cornerback, age 25

Davis has 2 teams, and 5 years of starting experience on his resume. The knock on Davis is that he is inconsistent at times. There has never been a question as to whether he has the game to be a legitimate starter in the NFL. At  only 25 years old Davis is only now entering his  prime. I expect the Colts to pay the price to keep him there, but the Lions could be a serious player here. 


5. Sam Shields, Cornerback, age 26

Sheilds is a cover corner with sub 4.40 40-yard dash. He has shown the ability to shut down special recievers such as Josh Gordon, and A.J Green in 2013. Sheilds (Green Bay Packers) is familiar with the NCF North and will likely come at a better price than Verner, Talib, or Davis. Once again he would walk in the door as the #1 CB on the roster. 


6. T.J. Ward, Strong Safety, age 27

Ward is a strong safety in every sense of the word. He has a reputation to be one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league. He specializes in repelling the running game one crushing hit at a time out of the defensive secondary. Coverage skills need improvement, but Ward would be a huge upgrade. Ward eats pieces of shit like Don Carey for breakfast. 

7.  Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, age 25

Tate is an interesting option the Lions could look at as a solid  #2 WR option. Tate has the ability to gain a lot of yards after the catch, and could thrive as a second option in a pass heavy offense. He won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, and finished the year with 65 receptions, 888 yards and 5 scores. This was by far his best career year and he is still  young enough to make me believe his best production is still ahead of him. Wide reciever is also an area the Lions could look to address on draft day. 

8. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, age 26:

Before 2012 Nicks was on the verge of being one of the top 5 receivers in the game. Injuries and drops have plagued him, along with a disoriented Giants offense since 2012. These concerns could drive his price down and make Nicks a real value pick up for the right team. Nicks has shown the ability to be a #1 WR and at the right price, i think he’s worth rolling the dice on for the Lions. 

9. James Jones, Wide Receiver, age 29:

Detroit Lions fans are all to familiar with James Jones as he has often given them problems on the outside playing for Green Bay. Jones is tough, sure handed, and has ability to explode after the catch. If Jones came at the right price, I think he would be a perfect fit on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson.  Don’t be shocked (or upset) if the Lions fill their #2 WR void with Jones. 

10. Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Reciever, age 26:

Sanders could also be a legit #2 option opposite of Johnson for the Lions. Sanders has a very similar skill set as Jones. He is more shifty than blazing fast, but has big play potential after the catch. Playing alongside a big time #1 WR is right where Sanders belongs, but may come at a higher price than Jones due to his age. Sanders would be the best WR#2 option the Lions would have fielded since the 2012 version of Nate Burleson. 


2014 Slum Dunk Contest

Contributed by S. Millington

Lately the slam dunk contest has been a pain to watch. Two years ago when Jeremy Evans (LOL WHO?) won the slam dunk contest. Evans dunked over a painting of himself dunking.  It was a lame dunk and painful to watch. Hell, one of my friends and a fellow Motown Meltdown writers passed out cold watching that slam dunk contest. Bud Light Platinum may have played a part in that but that slam dunk contest still sucked. This year is going to be a must watch with field a three All-Star, two up and coming players and last year’s champion. Here’s who’s in and what we can expect from each of them:

Terrence Ross will  defending his title in New Orleans. Ross recently had one of the better in game dunks of the season, a poster dunk on Kenneth Faried. Ross was excellent in his dunk contest debut, and there’s no reason to believe he can win again this year.

The All Star Weekend is going to be busy for Damian Lillard in New Orleans. Lillard will be the first player in the history of the weekend to participate in all five major events: the All-Star game, the dunk contest, the Rising Stars challenge, the three-point shootout and the skills competition.

Ben McLemore is the only rookie in this year’s contest. McLemore is able to throw down some monster jams during practice and this would be a great chance for him to raise his profile nationally with win in the slam dunk contest.


John Wall is making his first All-Star appearance this season and also his first appearance in the slam dunk contest.  Wall has shown some flair in his in-game dunks, pulling out 360′s on fast breaks. I can see Mr. Wall win the slam dunk contest and busting out the John Wall dance. I know one of our writers here at Motown Meltdown will busts some moves to a John Wall victory.

Barnes is a likable young player on a popular Warriors team. He does have North Carolina roots so he maybe be able to pull off some Michael Jordan or Vince Carter type stuff.  Barnes’ best in game dunk is this posterization of Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic from his rookie year.

This will be George’s second time doing it, but this time he is the star on one of the best teams in the league and he is an All Star starter this year. This year I’m sure we will not see a glow-in-the-dark dunk by George like he did in 2012. Last month George threw down a nasty 360-degree windmill dunk against the Clippers. George can cement his superstar status among fans all over the world with a win in the dunk contest.

I think the Slam Dunk contest will belong to Harrison Barnes. I can see him tying his North Carolina connection in to one of his dunks and I also him throwing down some monster dunks. Hopefully this field of dunkers may push other stars to enter the dunk contest. Yes, I’m looking at you Lebron.

Throwback Thursday: Miracle

Throwback Thursday is a segment in which we will highlight a throwback video relating to Michigan sports. For the first edition the timing is appropriate to flash back to the Olympics of 1980.

The final 2 minutes of the game referred to as “Miracle on Ice”.

The USA team was a major underdog facing the Soviet power house. To put a recent comparison to how much of an upset this was, think about Appalachian State taking down Michigan, in the Big House. The Soviet’s had defeated the American’s 10-3 in an exhibition game prior to the 1980 Olympics. The game was more than just  hockey at the time. The USA and Soviet Union were at the midst of the Cold War, and this game was the ultimate representation of national pride for both of the teams. Team USA went on to take gold in hockey that year.

Local Connection:

Forward Mark Wells is from St. Clair Shores, Michigan. Wells was drafted by the Montreal Canadians in the first round of the 1977 NHL entry draft. He retired before he played a single NHL game. In 2010 he auctioned off his gold medal for 310,000$ to pay for medical costs for a genetic disease.

Defenseman Ken Morrow is from Flint, Michigan. After achieving gold in the 1980 Olympics, Morrow won a Stanley Cup with the New York Islanders. He is the first rookie to ever win a Stanley Cup and gold medal in the same year. He won 3 more cups with the Islanders from 1981-1983. Morrow retired after a short, but successful NHL career in 1989 due to injuries.



Do you think that you are good enough to fight in MMA professionally? If so, then there is a one of a kind opportunity for you in Waterford, MI this coming Saturday, February 15th. Imagine the NFL holding an open combine for anyone interested, where agents, sponsors, and teams could potentially hire someone who caught their eye. This is essentially what MMA Draft is doing across the country and the train is stopping in Michigan this week.

The only qualifications for applicants to “tryout” is to pay a $75 registration fee and that you do not have any professional MMA fights. is looking to find young dedicated fighters. They want to be able to catch the kids very young and talk with their parents to see if being a professional MMA fighter is really what they want. Along with the combine on Saturday, they will have a bonus seminar Sunday with professional MMA fighters including Daron Cruickshank, Urijah Faber and Phil Davis. The seminar will educate young fighters on how to start in the sport, how to market yourself, management, ect.

MMADraft is the only one of its kind in sports, but at the rate MMA is growing it is needed. There is an abundance of amateur fighters that have serious skills and have no quick way of getting noticed. Also I think the most important aspect of these events is the education to the young fighters and their parents. If you can educate the kids now and point them in the right direction it can only be good for the future of MMA.

$75 is also not a bad rate to rub shoulders with some of MMAs top names. So if the prospect fighter doesn’t come away with an MMA contract and the education goes in one ear and out the other, at least they can say they had a seminar from Urijah Faber. Faber has fought in championship fights in the WEC and UFC at 135lbs. Phil Davis is no slouch himself fighting only top name fighters. Davis is 12-1-1 and will likely be fighting for a title one day soon. Also we can’t forget our favorite fighter here at the Meltdown, “The Detroit Superstar” Daron Cruickshank will be in attendance.  So if you think you have what it takes to fight the best then get out there and showcase your skills this weekend.

Follow the link for more information regarding the event:

Predicting the Road Ahead for Michigan Basketball

stauskasThe end of the college basketball regular season is, believe it or not, rapidly approaching. There are just 8 games left in the Big Ten season for the Michigan Wolverines basketball team and right now, they still sit atop this tough conference at 9-1, tied with fellow Michiganders, the Michigan State Spartans. The boys are coming off two important games. First, a game that really challenged the Wolverines, the loss at Indiana. Then, Michigan bounced back with an absolute domination of a Nebraska team that almost beat them in Lincoln earlier this season. The team is on the right track right now with many players stepping it up. But are they good enough to keep it going and capture the Big Ten regular season title? Maybe… maybe not, but let’s take a look at the road ahead to see just what we’re dealing with here.

Feb. 8th @ Iowa Hawkeyesmarble

The Hawkeyes are a pretty complete team with something to prove. Michigan beat them at Crisler earlier in the year and Iowa will be looking to return the favor at Carver Arena. I can’t stand Austin White and how he manages to put up double doubles in the most unathletic ways possible. But this team can hang with anybody in the Big Ten and winning in Iowa City is going to be tough.

Prediction: Loss, but its going to be a battle.

Feb. 11 @ Ohio (fuck this state, and fuck Thad Matta)ohio

This is not the same Ohio team that started the season ranked in the top 10 in the country. They went through a real rough patch over the last few weeks and they really have no go to scorer on the roster. Also, did you think this Michigan fan would give any respect to the Fuckeyes? Come on man…

Prediction: Win

Feb. 16 vs Wisconsin

Wisconsin always manages to hang around in the Big Ten race with a collection of white boys that nobody has ever heard of. Michigan has already beaten the Badgers once, at their arena, and I don’t see their white boys being able to outscore Michigans (Spike and Nik > Wisconsin schmucks).

Prediction: Win

Feb. 23 vs Michigan Statepayne

On to another team I just cannot stand. This game will most likely be the one that gives the Victor (see what I did there?) the inside track on winning the conference. Winning at Crisler is a rarity for opposing teams nowadays, but with Adrien Payne back, this one could be a little different than it was in East Lansing.

Prediction: Lo… wait, fuck that… WIN

Feb. 26 @ Purduepurdue

Purdue is not a good basketball team. Yeah, they may have won a few games against some of the middling teams in the conference, but I don’t see their inexperience being able to keep up with the Wolverines’ offense.

Prediction: Win

March 1 vs Minnesota


Rich Pitino is doing good things at Minnesota. They are competing in the best conference in college basketball. However, there is a difference between competing and winning games. This team just can’t seem to close anybody out. If this game was being played at the barn in Minny, I might be more inclined to predict the upset.

Prediction: Win

March 4 @ Illinoisillinois

Ok, Michigan fans, don’t hate me. I have this weird feeling that this game might be one that makes you want to punch an infant. Michigan shoots 25% from the floor, 20% from 3, Stauskas goes scoreless and Morgan fouls out with 10 minutes left in the game. Don’t ask me why I think this could happen, but somehow the Orange Krush gets the best of the boys.

Prediction: Loss

March 8 vs Indianaindiana

In their first meeting, the Hoosiers needed an absolute monster effort from Yogi Ferrell to beat the Wolverines. I don’t see him replicating that performance in Ann Arbor and I predict Michigan to stomp the Hoosiers in demanding fashion. This will be the game that Michigan is able to use to gain some momentum heading into the Big Ten Tourney.

Prediction: Win

So there it is, I predict that the Michigan basketball team will go 6-2 down the stretch and finish the Big Ten season with a 15-3 record in the conference. Last season, Indiana won the regular season title at 14-4, so it looks like this might be good enough to get the job done. I won’t sleep on the Spartans, however, as it is crazy to think that with only 3 conference losses, it might not be enough. Michigan has a tough schedule coming up, but a lot of their “big” games are at home, which will definitely help because if this season has taught us anything, it is that it is extremely difficult to win on the road in the Big Ten. I think the Wolverines get the coveted #1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney this season, finishing 1 game ahead of the Spartans. After that, it is anybody’s game in March, which is when the real Madness begins…

National Signing Day Notes: Michigan & Michigan State

Contribution by: Michael Pawlak

National signing day for 2014 has arrived! I previously covered Michigan and Michigan State’s  recruiting, and Michigan was the clear cut leader for 2014. The tides have turned over the final weeks leading up to this day, and players finally make it official where they will attend school and play football.  Michigan did not add any players over the last month, while Michigan State added to their class in a big way.

Michigan Notes:

Michigan had a disappointing recruiting class in 2014. Brady Hoke lost a lot of momentum following the forgettable 7-6 2013 campaign. Michigan was able to secure a decent amount of talent, but compared to previous recruiting success they have fallen short. They only added 16 commitments. It is crazy to see how far Michigan has fallen since Lloyd Carr was booted out the door. This program is on a roller coaster ride that has lasted more than a decade. There is a lot of talent already on board at Michigan, but player development must improve in order for Michigan to be a factor in the B1G.

Biggest Hit: 

Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is a consensus 5-star talent out of New Jersey. His highlight tape is enough to make every Michigan fan believe. He is naturally a defensive back who can play both safety and cornerback. He also has game breaking ability returning kicks and on offense at running back. He was recruited and offered by everybody in the country. Peppers also has plans to pursue a music career in Hip Hop under the name J-Real:

After watching about a dozen of his songs on YouTube, I think Ann Arbor may have gotten the east coast version of Kendrick Lamarr. Okay that may be a little bold, but Peppers has made it clear that he is equally as serious about being an MC as he is about playing football. His impact will be felt (and heard) around Ann Arbor as soon as he steps on campus.

Biggest Miss:

Malik Mcdowell. Michigan was assumed to be the quiet leader for McDowell througout the whole recruiting process. He is a 5-star in-state Defensive End from Southfield. The only thing worse than losing out on the best player in the state is losing him to your in-state rival, Michigan State.

Michigan Top 5:

1. Jabrill Peppers, CB, New Jersey NJ.

2. Drake Harris, WR, Grand Rapids MI.

3. Brian Mone, DT, Salt Lake City UT.

4. Michael Ferns, LB, St. Clairsville OH.

5. Lawrence Marshall, DE, Southfield MI. (Malik McDowell’s former teamate)

National Rank: 27 31 19

Michigan State Notes:

Michigan State fell under the radar in the recruiting process right up until the end. Things got serious in East Lansing as they capped off their class with a signing day shocker landing 5-Star recruit Malik McDowell. Michigan State is clearly on the map in football now and landing McDowell only strengthens the point. The Spartans B1G and Rose Bowl title in 2013 are big factors in the success here. Head coach Mark Dantonio has put together a program that players believe in, and it shows on the gridiron.

Biggest Hit: 

Malik McDowell. McDowell is an X-factor in the recruiting between Michigan and Michigan State. McDowell being from Michigan is one of the reasons this signing is so important for MSU. Michigan has always taken pride in sweeping up the best talent in the state, but this year the Spartans struck back. McDowell is the ideal Defensive End that all teams are looking for. I wouldn’t say that he is the next Jadeveon Clowney, but he is the 7th best DE in the counrty. My extensive research has come up inconclusive on whether he is a distant relative of the owner of McDowell’s:

Coming to East Lansing in the fall of 2014.

Biggest Miss:

Drake Harris. Harris is the second best player out of Michigan in 2014. He was originally committed to MSU to play basketball and football, but somehow Hoke beat out Izzo for his services as he will deploy him at WR. The west side of Michigan is regularly MSU’s stomping ground, but Michigan stole this young gun from the Spartans. Harris has everything necessary to dominate in the B1G.

Michigan State Top Five:

1. Malik McDowell, DE, Southfield MI.

2. Montae Nicholson, S, Monroeville, PA.

3. Vayante Copeland, CB, Dayton OH.

4. Craig Evans, OF, Sin Prairie WI.

5. Byron Bullugh, ATH, Traverse City MI.

National Rank: 21 20 25


Michigan finished with the average class of 25th by the 3 recruiting sites, while Michigan State averaged out at 22nd. It’s safe to say that this rivalry is fully heated now and should be  going forward. Dantonio has laid  the groundwork for his program to succeed in East Lansing. Hoke may be on the hot seat going into 2014, and will have to win a lot of games to keep his job. My prediction is that he needs 10 wins to stay. Michigan State fans would be thrilled if Hoke stays right where he is over in Ann Arbor.

Big Ten Class Rankings:

1. Ohio State (5th overall)

2. Michigan State (21st overall)

3. Penn State (24th overall)

4. Michigan (26th overall)

5. Wisconsin (28th overall)

6. Nebraska (34th overall)

7. Iowa (41st overall)

8. Indiana (44th overall)

9. Minnesota (51st overall)

10. Rutgers (55th overall)

11. Northwestern (56th overall)

12. Maryland (60th overall)

13. Purdue (66th overall)

14. Illinois (70th overall)