The Detroit Lions are in need of secondary help in a bad way – that’s just putting it lightly. I should have said the Lions entire defense is in need of some serious help. Hopefully, the Lions can land some defensive players via free agency, as well as re-sign a few of their own.
NFL Free agency starts March 12, 2013. Currently, the Lions will have numerous players hit the open market when things shake up at midnight on that day. Here’s the list of unrestricted free agents on the defensive side of the ball:
Cliff Avril – DE
Louis Delmas - DB
Justin Durant - LB
Drayton Florence - DB
Andre Fluellen - DL
Sammie Lee Hill - DL
Chris Houston - DB
Lawrence Jackson - DL
Jacob Lacey - DB
Pat Lee - DB
DeAndre Levy - LB
Corey Williams - DL
I left out Kyle Vanden Bosch, because he was cut.
From that list, Durant, Levy and Houston had the second, third and fourth-most tackles on the team respectively. Avril was the teams leading sack man, and he is going to be hard to replace if not re-signed.
As sad as two interceptions is as a leading stat on a team, it belonged to corner back Chris Houston. So you can see, the Lions defense is about to change big time. It’s a must that the fifth pick in this year’s draft be taken on a stud defensive player or parlayed into more picks by a trade.
I like the second option the best, only because of the amount of bodies the Lions are in need of. The secondary looks to be taking the hardest hit, and I think you can find decent corners and safeties after the first round. That fifth pick may be awfully enticing to a team in need of one of these giant tackles in the draft.
The Lions should also be expected to land a few free agents as well. I particularly like Jacksonville Jaguars free agent DB, Derek Cox. He’s expected to be a bit too expensive for the Jaguars to keep him.
He’s had multiple seasons with injuries that have kept him out of 17 games in his four-year career, but he brings with him a healthy four interceptions a season, and he’s familiar with the 4-3 cover defense.
A few days ago, I mentioned the change between the 2011 and 2012 Detroit Lions – the key was their turnover ratio. The Lions have got to get play makers on the field. They need guys who are going to get those picks and force those fumbles, and it would be great if they could re-sign Delmas as well.
Houston is also a guy I think deserves a contract, and taking a gamble on O.J Atogwe may pay dividends. He didn’t see the field in 2012, but the guy has a knack for forcing fumbles and getting the interceptions the Lions need. His 2011 season wasn’t the greatest either, but he should come relatively cheap.
Again, the Lions should be expected to go defense-heavy this draft. With a handful of moves and a solid draft, the Lions may be able to save their defense. If they don’t, it’s a guarantee you see the familiar NFC North bottom-feeder appear once again.
Their offense can’t be relied upon to get into a shootout with every team in the league. It is going to be interesting to see how their off-season plays out.