So we lost Eric Wright to Tampa. We weren't going to give him that type of money anyway. But there now is a pretty large void after Chris Houston and Aaron Berry on our depth chart. Unless the Phonz can improve drastically on his coverage skills, or Don Carey makes a big jump, the Lions need another CB, and cheap too. So who is still out there that the Lions should target? (I'll preface this by saying I know that PFF isn't the end all when it comes to CB stats, but they're the best I've seen. Deal with it.)
1. Jacob Lacey (Colts) - Obviously he's first on the list because he has already visited here and said that we are the frontrunner. This seems to be a very unpopular pick amongst fans here on POD, mainly because of how bad he was early on in the season. He hasn't the only reason that the Colts defense was awful, but he played a part in the beginning. However, in his last six games, his PFF grade was a +8.9, indicating that he not only was a better player as of late, but he was statistically better than any of our CB's during that stretch, by a wide margin. He's young ( 25 years old), shows good run defense (+3.1), and it's not like he needs to be #1 material. He's going to be quite cheap (he made $480,00 last year), and is only getting better.
2. Aaron Ross (Giants) - Ross isn't getting any younger, but I believe he can still be a solid NFL corner for a few more years. He ended the year with a -1.2 rating, 4 INT's, 11 PD, and 59 tackles. Once again, he's not going to be our #1 corner, but a solid 2 or 3 guy with experience may be just what the Lions need this free agency. Plus, he's played in 2 super bowls, which could prove helpful come playoff time.
3. Corey Graham (Bears)- The Bears? And, WHO? Yeah, Graham played for the Bears, and only contributed in 89 defensive snaps, but it's what he did with those snaps that gets my attention. Graham managed 3 INT's in very little time, including one against our own Matt Stafford. If he played as many snaps as Eric Wright did last year and average out his INTS, he would have had 36. (Obviously I know he won't have 36 INTS) He's a special teams ace as well. I think with a little bit of work on the defensive side, he could blossom right before our eyes. I'm not too big on interceptions as great stats for CB's (as you all know, because of my love for Berry) but what caught my eye regarding those INT's was the yards given up on completed passes. Graham only gave up 7 completions for 47 yards in those 89 snaps. My biggest gripe with Phonz is his how many big plays he gives up while going for the big play. Graham, while only a small portion size, did much better. The Bears don't seem to want to give him starting CB money, he's relatively young(27), and the Lions won't overspend on him. We could do much worse in FA...I hope the Lions take a look at this guy.
4. William Gay (Pitt) - Gay has already said that he wants to stay with Pittsburgh, but they haven't come out on the offensive and re-signed him yet. Gay is also 27 years old and had a solid year with Pitt last year. He graded out to a +1.4 overall with 2 INTs and 9 PD. He made $735,000 last year and probably won't be asking for a whole lot more than that this upcoming year. A solid cover corner, he won't make too many eye popping plays, but continuously gets the job done. Pittsburgh will most likely re-sign him, but the Lions would be smart to take a look.
5. Tracy Porter (Saints) - I'm not so sure about this one, but it seems like a couple of guys on POD really like him. It seems to me that he's getting paid for that one big play against Peyton in the playoffs. He had a -10.4 overall grade at PFF, and while he has experience in the playoffs, he just doesn't do enough for me to take a real chance on him. He probably will be asking for a bit too much money than what he's worth. While I wouldn't be totally opposed to Porter, I think the Lions can still do much better.
Well there's my list, take it or leave it. I welcome any comments and criticism.