When the Lions traded up to grab Mikel Leshoure in the second round, they had to get rid of their middle-of-the-draft picks that usually make the difference between a good and a bad team. While we all hope that Leshoure turns out to be one half of the one-two punch the Lions would love at running back with Jahvid Best, there were many needs not addressed as much as fans would have hoped. If one were to look at the pick that followed Leshoure, there’s a solid chance that the Lions may have filled a need with a fifth round pick from Yonkers.
As many of you that follow this blog know by now, I am a proud Syracuse Orangeman – yes, I still call the team (rather than “Orange”) by the nickname that the school used when Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Dave Bing, Carmelo Anthony and myself all attended. One of the highlights in Syracuse’s turnaround season of 2010, was a two-headed linebacking core that led the team to its first bowl victory in almost a decade. Led by the speedy and hard-hitting Doug Hogue, Syracuse won every Big East road game this past season and gave hope to all of us that feared we were becoming a basketball-first school.
As a former running back, Hogue redefined his game two years ago when he made the move over to the defensive side of the ball as part of the coaching change at Syracuse. While he wasn’t a bad running back by any definition, his aggressive style of lowering his shoulder to knock defenders over really opened some eyes for a coaching staff looking to have an immediate impact.
What will the Lions be getting out of Hogue, other than a nice story of redemption? Hogue has a great sense for sniffing out where the ball will be at all times. He’s incredibly fast and agile on the field, and if he’s not making the first hit, he’ll be there with the second one. Hogue has also made the most out of a great football frame, and something has to be said for a player that knows what it takes to go from the bottom of the Big East to conference title contention.