ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) " The Detroit Lions became the NFL's first 0-16 team last season in large part because their defense was one of the worst in league history.
Detroit decided to ignore its many needs on 'D' in the first round of the draft Saturday, choosing Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford as expected with the No. 1 pick and Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew in a surprising selection at 20th overall.
"We stuck to our core values, looking for value ," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "We weren't tempted to go offense or defense. We took the best player both times."
Even though Jim Schwartz's background is on defense, Detroit's new coach didn't mind waiting to address that side of the ball.
"We have a number of needs," Schwartz said. "Our No. 1 need is talent."
Detroit did bolster its defense, which came close to setting an NFL record for points allowed last year, by taking Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas with the first pick in the second round.
"He plays liked a guided missile," Schwartz said.
Stafford said "winning solves a lot of problems," and he's got plenty of them to overcome with the Lions.
He will, though, be paid well.
Stafford, from Dallas, signed a six-year contract with $41.7 million in guarantees and $78 million in maximum value on Saturday.
The night before, he stepped outside of a restaurant in New York where he was with about 20 people, including his parents, to talk to agent Tom Condon, after the negotiations were completed.
"I went back in and gave everybody the thumbs up," Stafford recalled.
Who picked up the check?
"I did," Stafford said quietly.
Stafford can't fix all the problems associated with a franchise that has been bad enough to go 31-97 since 2001 in what has been the worst eight-year stretch by an NFL team since the Chicago Cardinals won 23 percent of their games from 1936-43.
But Detroit can't afford to have Stafford join its list of draft-day busts that includes Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams.
"The great thing about the game of football is, it's a team game," Stafford said on a conference call. "I'm just going to be one piece of the puzzle."
The strong-armed quarterback might get a chance to develop slowly, watching Daunte Culpepper from the sideline.
But Stafford isn't conceding anything.
"I'm a competitive guy," Stafford said. "I'm going to try to get ready as quick as I can."
Stafford said it will be up to the coaches to decide if he's ready to start in Week 1 on the road against the New Orleans Saints, when Detroit will try to win its first game since Dec. 23, 2007.
But with the money the Lions are paying Stafford, there will be pressure to put him on the field.
When Stafford does play, Pettigrew will likely help him as a pass-receiving threat and blocking asset.
The 6-foot-5, 263-pound Pettigrew became the first tight end in Oklahoma State history with 100-plus receptions in a career, but as a senior had as many receiving touchdowns (none) as the Lions had wins last season.
Pettigrew, though, was a first-round pick in part because he loved blocking so much that he asked for running plays to be run in his direction.
Pettigrew, from Tyler, Texas, said the Lions have "big plans," for him.
"They know I'm a complete tight end," Pettigrew said.
Delmas, from North Miami Beach, Fla., might get a chance to start right away because safety Gerald Alexander is recovering from a neck injury.
When Detroit faces Green Bay, Delmas is looking forward to facing another former Western Michigan star, Packers receiver Greg Jennings.
"I'm about to text him in a minute," Delmas said, "and tell him, 'Don't slip up and come across the middle because it's going to be a rude awakening."'