Lions

With their free agent moves are the Lions really on a course for success in 2013?

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Free agency for the Lions this season started with a bang.

Day two saw Detroit re-sign corner back Chris Houston to a 5-year deal and bring in free agents Glover Quin at safety, Jason Jones at defensive lineman and the big one Reggie Bush at running back.

In addition the Lions also brought back safety Louis Delmas on a 2-year contract worth $9 million plus.

The big question though after all these signings, have the Lions actually made an impact on their own roster… are they better?

Well, lets take a look at the secondary first.

Detroit did address some major issues, even with a large number of defensive backs available. Chris Houston was rated among the better CB’s despite not being one of the bigger names on the market.

Furthermore it looks like there will be a 3-way battle for the other corner spot. Bill Bentley, Jonta Green and Chris Greenwood will probably be the lead candidates up for the position.

Safety though is were we might see the biggest difference.

Glover Quin has better cover skills at the safety position than anyone the Lions have had in a long time. At 27-years old, Quin is young, played in 48 straight games, has a nose for the ball and makes plays. Last year alone Quin had 5 stuffs, 14 pass deflects, 2 INT’s, and 2 forced fumbles.

Louis Delmas re-signing came to as a surprise to me as he was thought to be going to the 49ers or Rams with some rumors indicating he may return to Detroit.

Well, surprise surprise he came back home.

After initially leaving without a contract (and seemingly feeling spurned by the Lions) Detroit must of found out that Delmas checks out OK and is poised to return to the his rookie year form.

Detroit also added a depth piece to the defensive line.

Jason Jones – a product of Eastern Michigan – is young and hopefully an undervalued piece, the kind of deal other teams seem to find. Jones can be a versatile piece as well playing DT or DE and can get after the QB while making tackles on the opposing running backs. Aside from being a depth player though the Lions are probably hoping Jones can come in and compete with Willie Young for the starting defensive end spot then address the other end in the first or second round of the draft.  But make no mistake, Detroit will probably still have to draft a starter at defensive end in either of the first two rounds. I’m not sold on Willie Young or even Jason Jones as a starter but do welcome the competition for the right end job.

Now we get to running back Reggie Bush who should be the outlet Matthew Stafford needs and misses. The Lions’ offense really flourished with speed at RB when Jahvid Best was in the fold and now with Bush, Stafford has a piece that can hurt a team that chooses to double Calvin Johnson.

Bush though isn’t coming in and rushing for 1,000 yards and 10 TD’s but I think it is possible for Bush to see 1,300 all purpose yards with 60 receptions, 160 rushes and 8 TD’s. We also know Calvin Johnson will get his touches no matter what and the one area Bush will certainly help out at is in the red zone.

Overall I’m pleased with the Lions offseason improvements so far but like most Lions fans I will need to see the draft to give a final grade on the offseason. But at this point the Detroit Lions have really stolen the free agency show and shocked the NFL with what they’ve been able to do.

The ability to find needs with young proven players has been impressive, but make no mistake this only is completed with a smart draft of ready players that can contribute at a high level.

Detroit still has needs on the offensive line with a point of emphasis at guard and tackle. Riley Reiff is the unknown while Jason Fox and Bill Nagy are both coming off injuries. The Lions do however feel they got a steal in Nagy as he was thought of as a starter and with the Lions rolling with Stephen Peterman last year could Nagy be any worse? Furthermore if Nagy grades out to start and Fox or Hillard can also work themselves out into NFL starters Detroit may be alright on the offensive line. But that may be a HUGE stretch.

The Lions are also in need of a quality OLB. My feelings are draft Jarvis Jones and get the best available defensive end in the 2nd round. DaMonster Damontre Moore just might be a steal there or Alex Okafor seems to have the makings of a solid pro every team wishes to have.  Moves like this would certainly sure up the defensive and give Detroit a nice core of solid play makers.

After that, the Lions still have a need to draft a receiver especially with Burleson and Broyles both coming off injury. I still wouldn’t waste a high pick but a wide out in the 5th round is probably a good spot to address this issue.

Other than that, my theory allows Detroit to do something they haven’t done in a decade, draft depth! Imagine a 3rd round pick taken to build the team for the future or provide a solid fall back in case of injury?

Bottom line though things are looking up after a terrible 2012 so let’s see if this free agent good luck carries over to the draft.

GOOOOO LIONS!

 

About Jason Bray

Detroit Sports Columist. Joined The Majors staff in 2012 covering the Detroit Lions.

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