Free agency is dispersing a lot of good talent this offseason, talent the Detroit Lions need to look into. The Lions have some positions they need to fill such as wide receiver, safety, cornerback, linebacker, and defensive end. Detroit needs to be aggressive while the crops are still fresh. Here’s a look at some potential good players the Lions can seek:
1.T.J. Ward: Ward is a young safety creeping towards his prime. Detroit would have an instant upgrade to their secondary with him alongside Glover Quin. At 27, he’s coming off of an impressive season with 112 tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed. If Detroit obtained him, their secondary would strengthen. Offenses wouldn’t be able to pass with such ease. Ward sees the field, being a very intelligent player. He has exceptional leadership skills, which would help Detroit’s younger defensive players. Coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin are familiar with Ward, having coached against him in the AFC North division. Detroit still lacks above-average cornerbacks. With better safety play from someone like Ward, this could be mitigated.
2. Jared Allen: The Minnesota Vikings decided to part with the fierce pass rusher; Detroit should intertwine their path with his. Allen said he dislikes Detroit; it’d be hard to see him disliking being on a line with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ezekiel Ansah. At just 31, he still has plenty of playing time left in him, and continues to play at a high level. Allen would bring leadership, intensity, and forceful edge pressure that’d terrorize opposing quarterbacks. He finished the 2013 season with 52 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles. The Lions’ defensive line has struggled at points; Allen’s physical play would be the remedy to cure it.
3. Emmanuel Sanders: The Lions need another receiver, one who can alleviate the pressure off Calvin Johnson; Sanders fits the requirements. Coming off of his fifth year, Sanders accumulated 67 catches for 740 yards, and six touchdowns. Outside of Johnson, Sanders outplayed all of Detroit’s receivers by miles. With the attention Johnson receives and quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s strong arm, Sanders would be a legitimate threat as a number-two receiver. He has good speed and incredible hands, dropping just two passes on 112 targets, according to ESPN. Sanders would expand Detroit’s offensive ability.
4. James Ihedigbo: If Ward can’t be obtained, Ihedigbo would be a solid pickup. Austin coached Ihedigbo while on the Ravens, assisting in his breakout 2013 season. Ihedigbo had 101 tackles, two forced fumbles and recoveries, and three picks. He has experience and is progressing more over the years. Since he’s familiar with Austin, he’d be able to pick up on the schemes quickly, helping to implement Austin’s defensive system. Ihedigbo is worth examining.
5. Lance Moore: Moore didn’t have the glossiest 2013 season, having 37 receptions with 457 yards and two touchdowns, but he’s still a very athletic receiver that’d fit well in the slot for Detroit. At 5’9″, he wouldn’t be an ideal second receiver; Detroit would enjoy matching him up on linebackers and safeties, allowing him to go deep, taking advantage of the coverage Johnson dictates. With new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who is familiar withMoore from being on the Saints, Moore could have an important role for Detroit’s offense. He’d be an upgrade over guys like Kris Durham and Jeremy Ross.