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4 reasons why the Lions should sign Jared Odrick

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With a need at defensive end after Sunday’s preseason opener against the Colts, the Lions should pursue Jared Odrick.

NFL: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In case you didn’t know it, the Lions’ defense took two big hits in their preseason opener against the Colts on Sunday: Both Kerry Hyder Jr. and Brandon Copeland suffered season-ending injuries.

Despite the Lions pass rush having a good day against the Colts, this is a big problem. Losing a starter in Hyder Jr. and a versatile role player in Copeland will be hard to replace.

It got me to thinking: What can the Lions do to lessen the blow? In the Mayhew days, it became somewhat commonplace for the Lions to take their lumps with injuries and keep going according to plan. With Quinn, it’s a whole other story. He seems to be a guy that is willing to go out there and take a risk.

There should be no risk that’s easier to take then signing former Jaguars defensive lineman Jared Odrick, and here’s why.

He’s healthy and ready

Odrick’s 2016 season was plagued by injuries, and one to his shoulder put him on the injured reserve list. Coincidentally, that injury came in Jacksonville’s contest against the Lions last season.

But Odirck’s 2016 season appears to be a fluke of sorts. Odrick spent the previous five years of his career not missing a single game. He was a starter for two and a half of those seasons as well. Odrick may have just had a bad year.

What we do know now is that Odrick is healthy. In February, he met with the Patriots and passed a physical. For whatever reason, he wasn’t signed. Some believe it may have been “his non-football interests.” I say who cares about that.

He’s still young

At only 29 years old, Jared Odrick is not a stop gap; he’s a long-term solution. There are many other free agents available to consider at this point. The most popular of the talent pool being Dwight Freeney and Mario Williams. These guys are 37 and 32 years old, respectively. They aren’t the only ones: Nine of the top 11 available free agent defensive ends listed on Spotrac are all over the age of 30.

The Lions have a real chance to grab a younger guy here and get him on a multi-year deal. In my opinion, that has to be the way to go over grabbing an old guy for a year.

He’s actually pretty good

Make no mistake about it, Odrick isn’t an All-Pro, but he’s as close as you can get without having to make a trade. Take a look at Odrick’s stats through the years:

Jared Odrick Career Stats

Year Games Games Started Tackles Sacks Passes Deflected Forced Fumbles
Year Games Games Started Tackles Sacks Passes Deflected Forced Fumbles
2010 1 1 1 0 0 0
2011 16 7 20 6 2 1
2012 16 12 26 5 2 0
2013 16 5 34 4.5 2 1
2014 16 16 23 1 5 1
2015 16 16 23 5.5 3 1
2016 6 6 9 1 1 1

Pretty good stuff here. As you can see, Odrick can get to the quarterback. He can also deflect passes—something that paired with A’Shawn Robinson’s penchant for doing the same could make opposing quarterbacks have nightmares.

He’s also quite versatile. In his six year career, he’s played at defensive end, defensive tackle, nose tackle and even linebacker in some situations. That’s something the Lions could definitely use on their defensive line. Especially when you consider that Brandon Copeland was the the guy that played the versatile role for the Lions.

What other choice do they have?

The fact is this, unless the Lions plan to part ways with players or future draft picks, they are stuck with what they have on the roster now. They can spend their cash on an older player that can possibly give them one good year of service before they retire.

There is a potential that the Lions feel okay with what they have. They may just go with Anthoy Zettel and be hopeful about a returning Ezekiel Ansah and call it a day. They’ll also have to rely on undrafted free agent Jeremiah Valoga and seventh round draft pick Pat O’Connor. That’s a lot of trust in their depth for a team that had the 31st ranked pass rush in 2016.

The Lions need to go out and make this a reality before the start of the regular season. And it appears that they my just be doing that. Kyle Meinke reported on Monday that the Lions could be interested in signing a free agent to replace Hyder. Here’s hoping it’s none other than Jared Odrick.