With the latest acquisition of former University of Michigan standout and two time Super Bowl winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Detroit Lions filled yet another need in what has been a fairly busy offseason for Mayhew and co.
Foote will now be joining in what is now becoming a position of strength for this Detroit Lion team. Ernie Sims will handle the weak-side duties while newcomer Julian Peterson will control the strong-side.
So far this offseason, the Lions front office has done a fairly good job in filling team needs and most importantly, upgrading the team’s overall talent level. Matthew Stafford, the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, fills that “franchise QB” label we all are accustomed to hearing. With Stafford and Culpepper as the team’s top two signal callers, that pretty much takes care of our QB needs as of now.
Kevin Smith will be the full time starter coming off a good rookie campaign. He has yet to prove though if he can handle being an every down back but will need a RB to compliment his aggressive style of play. As the roster currently stands, newly drafted rookie Aaron Brown and newly acquired free agent Maurice Morris are the only two players that can compliment Smith. Aaron Brown may be better suited to be a third down back. With that said, the Lions may use another veteran or change of pace runner at this position.
The receiving corp has also looked impressive so far this offseason with the moves from the big bosses up top. Calvin Johnson, no need to say much more. Bryant Johnson is currently the number two wideout and should make some immediate impact as he’ll face numerous one on one’s thanks in large part to Mr Calvin. The Lions also added speedster and return specialist Derrick Williams via draft. He makes a perfect slot receiver and should find lots of playing time early and often in both the return game and the return game. Other then Ronald Curry, the Lions really don’t have much but young tryout players in which half of them won’t be around come preseason.
Brandon Pettigrew filled out tight end needs and also Dan Gronkowski, the 7th round selection out of Maryland, should provide good depth at the position.
Tackle, is still and will always be a position of need for the Detroit Lions until they can get a top notch trencher either via trade or draft. You don’t find many franchise tackles via free agency. As for the rest of the O Line, Gosder Cherilus, the first round pick of a year ago, should have a much improved 2nd season under a new and tougher coaching staff. Raiola is still productive and can maintain that all important center position for at least another year but the Lions must add some youth for both the center and guard positions.
And now to the defense.
The D Line may be in most of a need for a makeover. 2nd year man Cliff Avril and veteran Dewayne White should be the starters heading into camps. Avril’s size may be of concern, but his physical play and speed off the edge make up for that big time. Other then those two, there really isn’t much you can rely on.
Recent reports of the Lions interested in signing Kevin Carter would give a major boost to this line. Carter, much like the signing off Grady Jackson to plug in the middle, will bring in great leadership for the younger guys. DT may be a position of strength in a Schwartz defense as we saw over and over again in Tennessee.
Detroit can afford to play with the players they currently have for now, but if they want to start winning and build a championship defense, or at least a respectable one first when your talking about this Lions team, they must continue to add and add and add to this defensive unit if they have any shot of having a respective defense.
The line backers, as stated above is a position of strength as the team has great depth to go with the talent on all three backer spots.
The secondary has also seen its share of improved talent. Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry along with former Titan Eric King should fight for that number one and two cornerback spots. Keith Smith and Eric King will most likely be nickel guys and used in situational packages.
Louis Delmas should immediately fill one of the biggest needs on that defense. If you look at it, every Detroit Lion need is almost as important any other. Delmas showed a great nose for the ball during rookie camps this past week. His physical play along with his hard hitting should go a long ways in making Delmas the starter from day one along with Safety Daniel Bullocks. For now Safety isn’t a position of immediate need.
Overall, the two biggest needs of this Lions squad are adding talent from all across the offensive line and getting younger on the defensive front four along with more talent.
With how the offseason has gone so far, I expect Mayhew to make a couple more tweaks and screws here and there to give Schwartz the best chance of putting a winning football team out on the field.