When the Detroit Lions wrapped up their offseason training program earlier this month, they released a pair of players. In the days that followed, they replaced one of those players with safety Taylor Mays, but there haven't been any additional moves since then. As a result, the Lions' roster stands at 89 players.
With training camp not beginning until August, there's no rush for the Lions to get back to 90 players by any means. However, you would think they are going to fill that vacant spot on their roster sooner rather than later, so let's take a look at some of their options for doing so:
Option 1: Sign a veteran offensive tackle
Perhaps the Lions are simply waiting for an update on LaAdrian Waddle's health before making their next move. If he ends up being ahead of schedule in his recovery from a partially torn ACL, there may not be a need for extra depth at offensive tackle. Then again, considering the Lions were down to their third-string right tackle during their minicamp, this seems like a position that could use some veteran experience, at least during training camp.
Option 2: Sign a veteran defensive lineman
On paper, the Lions' depth seems to be fine on the defensive line. However, with defensive end Jason Jones coming off a procedure on his knee and so many of the players at defensive tackle unproven, the Lions could probably use some additional experience on the D-line. Granted, barring additional injuries, any new defensive lineman is unlikely to make the team at this point with so many other players ahead of him on the depth chart, but it would be nice to have some extra insurance just in case.
Option 3: Sign a veteran wide receiver
Multiple spots at wide receiver are up for grabs going into training camp, and the Lions actually kicked the tires on veteran receivers like Brad Smith and Robert Meachem earlier this month. Neither player was signed, but perhaps it would be worthwhile to bring one of them in for training camp. Some extra competition at the position could be worthwhile, and having a guy like Smith around to contribute on special teams could be valuable.
Option 4: Sign a veteran at another position
If the Lions decline to add additional experienced depth at wide receiver or on their lines, what other positions could benefit from a veteran player? Running back jumps out to me simply because Joique Bell is coming off offseason surgery. Having some extra insurance behind him, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick could be a good idea, and I suppose the same could be said about tight end with Joseph Fauria still recovering from an ankle injury. And you can never have too much depth at a position like cornerback, so maybe that's something the Lions should consider as well.
Option 5: Give a young, unproven player an opportunity
The other main option is to forget adding a veteran and just take a flier on a young, unproven player. Last year, for example, the Lions signed George Winn in mid-July. He had bounced around the league and been with several teams, so it looked like he was nothing more than a camp body. However, with an impressive preseason, Winn earned a spot on the practice squad, and he later ended up on the Lions' 53-man roster. Not only did he finish the year with appearances in 12 games, but he rushed the ball 19 times for 73 yards.
In other words, it can be worthwhile to go with an unproven player just looking for an opportunity to break through. Bringing in proven veterans can make a lot of sense in certain situations, but if the Lions feel good about their depth across the board, going the younger route is probably the right move.
What say you?