Detroit turns attention to Wayne, Singleton

After losing out on Rosevelt Colvin, the Detroit Lions have now displayed a strong interest in recently released Packers' linebacker Nate Wayne. Just how serious are the Lions about Wayne? Lions' insider Mike Fowler knows. Plus: How good was Colvin, anyway? A "well-respected" NFC personnel director doesn't rank him to high. Plus much more inside!

(ALLEN PARK) After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the Lions got the bad news yesterday afternoon.  Rosevelt Colvin had elected to sign with the New England Patriots.

Colvin had made it clear he preferred to play in a situation where he could concentrate on rushing the passer.  Still, Detroit held out hope that they could get him to sign on the dotted line.

However, once Colvin got the numbers he wanted in New England, he elected to go there and Detroit had to move on.  But there was a silver lining in this cloud, in an unexpected move yesterday afternoon, Green Bay was forced to release linebacker Nate Wayne after miscalculating their salary cap.

Wayne was immediately contacted by several teams, including the Lions.  He flew to Philadelphia and began negotiations with the Eagles, but Detroit was able to get Wayne to commit to a visit yesterday according to the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Wayne recorded 111 tackles with three forced fumbles and three interceptions.  At just 28, Wayne would be a long term answer at the weakside linebacker position.  The fifth-year veteran has the speed, range and ability to play in space that Detroit needs.  According to Greene Bay Fox 11 reporter Drew Smith, Lions head coach Steve Mariuicci prefers Wayne to any other linebacking candidates.

He likely would come cheaper than comparable players like Indianapolis linebacker Mike Peterson.  His knowledge and familiarity with teams in the NFC North would likely appeal to Lions president and GM Matt Millen and head coach Steve Mariucci.

Detroit is also considering whether to sign Tampa Bay's Alshermond Singleton.  Singleton was expected to be the front runner on the Lions short list after it became apparent that Colvin was not coming, but that was before Wayne became available.

That would still leave Detroit in the market for a middle linebacker.  Yesterday, they visited with New Orleans linebacker Charlie Clemons.

A report yesterday suggested that Robert Porcher was going to personally talk to Lions free agent middle linebacker Chris Claiborne, who is scheduled to visit Green Bay, in order to convince him to return to Detroit.

PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Are the Lions better off not getting Colvin?  While many rated Colvin the top linebacker in free agency, note this comment by a well-respected NFC personnel director. 

"Colvin excels at one thing—pass rushing," said the exec. "He is a top-notch pass rusher and an average linebacker. He has good pursuit from the backside, but he doesn't have good lateral movement or coverage skills."

How does the personnel man rate the free agent linebackers?

1. New Kansas City linebacker Shawn Barber

2. Tampa Bay's Shelton Quarles

3. Tampa Bay's Alshermond Singleton

4. Indianapolis' Mike Peterson.

5. New England's Rosevelt Colvin

BLAST FROM PAST: Former Lion Charlie Batch visited with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday is search of a home.  Batch was the #3 QB in Pittsburgh last year and is searching for a home.  He's been offered the backup job again in Pittsburgh.  Batch also is expected to be contacted by the Chicago Bears if they are unable to sign Kordell Stewart.

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