NFL general managers, beware: you can’t stop Martin Mayhew, you can only hope to contain him.

Mayhew, the Lions’ football brainiac, reminds me of those chess experts who can play multiple opponents at once, because he’s staying one move ahead of his brethren.

His latest heist was the trade he made last night during the first round of the NFL Draft, when everyone thought Mayhew’s work was done with the selection of Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick.

Mayhew’s never done. You can’t drop your guard for one second with this guy. He’ll fleece you in broad daylight—in front of your family, your friends, your fans. He doesn’t bother to wear a mask. None of the great bandits did—just the amateurs who are afraid of being caught.

Mayhew obviously couldn’t care less who sees his face. He’s Jesse James, Clyde Barrow and John Dillinger, all rolled into one.

Mayhew picked Suh, as pretty much expected, then he went back to his chess board.

Later in the evening, the announcement came: the Lions had swapped with the Minnesota Vikings—a division rival, mind you—so that the Detroiters could get themselves a second first round pick. They bumped themselves up four picks, from 34th to 30th, and nabbed California running back Jahvid Best.

Mayhew is leaving a trail of victims in his wake.

It all started in October 2008, when Mayhew was on the job only a few weeks, when he played coy and gave misdirection about wanting to trade WR Roy Williams at the upcoming trade deadline.

His patience and savvy fooled Jerry Jones into surrendering a first round pick for the underachieving Williams.

It was then that I thought the Lions might have something special with this Martin Mayhew guy.

And it wasn’t beginner’s luck. Mayhew first perfected the art of the low-risk, high yield move. Now he’s flat out picking other GM’s pockets in full view of everyone.

In between there was his fine 2009 draft, from which the Lions got several starters.

I get the feeeling that Mayhew loves this stuff. Some executives become intoxicated by the art of the deal. Pistons GM Jack McCloskey comes to mind.

But Mayhew isn’t making trades and signing free agents just for the sake of it. His every crime has designs. He’s his own, one-man Mafia.

The impressive thing is that Mayhew seems to have this knack for making the other teams see things through his prism. I don’t know how he does it—charm, guile, intimidation—but he gets what he wants because he brainwashes the other guy into thinking that it’s for his own good, too.

Mayhew is the mugger who convinces you that you didn’t need all that cash and jewelry after all.

And the NFL’s GMs have to still suffer through a couple more days with Mayhew at the draft. They’d better watch their wallets—not that it would do them any good.

They say 40 is the new 30. Mayhew is the new Joe Dumars.

Remember when we gushed about Dumars? I was guilty of it. I was hardly alone.

Dumars is out; Mayhew is all the rage now.

Someone mentioned to Mayhew recently that he and the Lions have had a pretty good off-season.

“You don’t know if you have a good off-season until you play the season,” Mayhew said he responded.

Gee, all that and he has common sense and wisdom, too?

And to think that he served under Matt Millen for all those years. Millen was the goose who laid the Golden Egg (Mayhew) and no one knew it until the goose was run out of town.

The Lions had a good draft yesterday. Already. They’re Barry Sanders with two carries for 80 yards and 55 minutes still to play.

Pity the rest of the league.

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