It was only a few months ago when Lions fans were worried the front office didn't do enough to strengthen their back seven. Preseason games have shown us that once again Martin Mayhew knows what he is doing.
There were big name free agents floating around getting all the press, and Detroit's front office was patiently lying in the grass waiting for the herd to settle signing undrafted free agents like Cobrani Mixon, DeJuan Fulghum, and Ricardo Silva.
Always looking for the underdog story, I googled Mixon and Fulghum and watched the few highlight videos that were available. I tried to watch the progression of these players and I liked what I saw early. When they are in the game, fourth quarter and special teams mostly, they make plays. I can't help but be proud of Detroit's scouting department and front office when it looks like our undrafted free agents look better than other teams UFA's.
When I looked for video on Ricardo Silva, I couldn't find any. I did find he was from Hampton and what? He is 6' 3" 225lbs? What? At safety? He must be slow or something. How does a guy like this go unnoticed? Maybe he has bad instincts? I am intrigued. Searching through training camp pics, I notice him breaking up a pass or two. Now I am really interested in this guy.
So I hop on Twitter, tweet some questions to a couple of well known Detroit Lion columnists. Both of which I respect, Tom "Killer" Kowalski, who seems to always have the inside track, and Ty Schalter, who's reports are always eloquent and filled with insight. Well Tom never responded and Ty gave me a "we won't keep 5 safeties" .
Watching Silva in the preseason, he is ALWAYS around the ball, making tackles. I mention him to my friends and they say "against the threes and fours". But he is a safety, and half the job is being in the right place, that has nothing to do with who he's playing. Then Silva intercepts a ball. All the credit went to Willie Young chasing the QB.(Willie Young is a guy who made plays in preseason last year, he is still on the squad and looks like he will be a contributor this year.) Back to Silva, reversing my DVR, I notice he is the back side safety on that play but makes an interception on the opposite sideline. He had the instincts to see Willie put the QB in a position, limiting the areas of the field an errant pass would land, so Silva went there and made a play.
Later, like a proud father, I looked up his stats to see the "1" in the interception column and I noticed he is one of the leading tacklers in the preseason and has also forced a fumble. OK, when is someone else going to notice this guy?
Then there is the preseason game vs the Patriots. Detroit's ones are lighting up the Pat's in every category, enough that we are onto number twos before Tom Brady is relieved. It's third down and I didn't want Brady to get anything going. Brady audibles to Chad Occocinco and I hope a Lion will make a play here. The play starts, Brady pump fakes (uh oh), he releases the ball....Now we all know who Ricardo Silva is.