The Detroit Lions are entering this weekend's draft with a myriad of holes. Don't expect them to fill 'em all.
During Monday's press briefing, GM Martin Mayhew confirmed that the team would look to further solidify the roster through free-agency once the draft is completed.
"We have been in contact with a few agents of some veteran players and looking at some positions and saying, ‘if we don’t select a guy at this particular position, who would be the next guy? Who would be the next guy available out there,' " said Mayhew. "I think we’ll be in contact with him over the next few days and we’ll be able to pull the trigger on some signings next week depending on how the draft goes.”
Below, we run through a list of draft-related scenarios, and which available free-agents could fill the left-over roster openings.
|Best Free-Agents Available|
Scout.com NFL expert Adam Caplan ranks the top available free-agents.
Early selections: QB, MLB, OT
Need: DT, DE, OG
Although the later rounds could provide a few project DTs, the Lions would still need some proven, additional help on the line.
Dewayne Robertson, DT - The former Jets top pick (fourth-overall) had a down year with Denver in 2008, leading to his release. Considering interest in Robertson has been lukewarm, the 27-year old could be signed for a bargain. He is the best available defensive tackle in free-agency.
Jason Taylor, DE - Although he only managed 3.5 sacks in his eight starts with Washington, the 34-year old could still be a situational pass rush specialist. He can also assimilate to the "hybrid" role of outside linebacker/pass rusher that coach Jim Schwartz utilizes.
Others: John Thornton, DT (Cincinnati), Vonnie Holliday, DE (Miami), Kendall Simmons, OG (Pittsburgh), Pete Kendall, OG (Washington)
Early selections: QB, DT, OT
Need: MLB, DE, OG
Unlikely, but the draft has a habit of taking twists and turns and leaving teams grasping at straws at certain positions. While the Lions shouldn't let this happen (especially with Laurinaitis and others available at pick 20), they'll absolutely require middle linebacker help in free-agency.
Nate Webster, MLB - Webster started 13 games on the inside for Denver in 2008, tallying a modest 76 tackles and two sacks. A 10-year veteran, he would add experience and an upgrade to the inside of Detroit's defense.
Napoleon Harris, MLB - Harris is a veteran with tread remaining on the tires. He is also an onfield leader and could be an asset in Detroit.
Others: Jason Taylor, Vonnie Holliday, Kendall Simmons
Early selections: MLB, DT, OT
Need: QB, DE, OG
Another unlikely scenario, but one that is certainly plausible, especially if the top pick isn't Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez. If this is the case, the Lions might be hedging their bets on a QB in next year's draft, but more likely, are comfortable with Daunte Culpepper, while Drew Stanton continues to mature. Regardless, they'll need another veteran QB on the team.
J.P. Losman, QB - Losman had a shaky career in Buffalo, but is still considered the top available quarterback on the market. He has a strong arm and even better, is just 28 years old.
Rex Grossman, QB - Like Losman, the former Bears starter was a first-round pick. And while he never lived up to the hype (which, in Chicago, isn't possible to begin with), he has a strong arm that is suitable to Scott Linehan offenses.
Others: Charlie Frye, QB, Jason Taylor, Vonnie Holliday, Kendall Simmons