Now that free agency is less than a month away, it’s time to start seriously thinking about what the Detroit Lions need to target during the month in the lead-up to the NFL Draft. Right now, head coach Matt Patricia is likely scouting his own roster to determine needs while scoping out a plan for player acquisition over the two months that follow.
Fans who have been following the team know their needs pretty well. Defensive line, running back, offensive line and some linebacker help are all near the top of the team needs. But which should the Lions prioritize in free agency? That’s the topic of today’s Question of the Day:
What position should the Lions target in free agency?
My answer: Running back and offensive line.
Let’s start with running back. I’m not saying that the Lions need to go out and get Le’Veon Bell or even Carlos Hyde. Detroit just needs to add someone who can compete with the current cast of backs, alleviating some of the need to force a pick early in the draft. It could be Rex Burkhead or Jeremy Hill or whoever the Lions view as adequate competition. This doesn’t mean I don’t want them to use the draft for a running back, but I do want them to have a backup plan in place incase the draft doesn’t work out.
As for offensive line, Detroit not only will need someone to replace Travis Swanson should the Lions let him go, but they’re in desperate need of depth along their front five. Regardless of whether they get a starter in free agency or the draft, they’re going to need to add some extra help, and free agency is where you’ll find the most ready-to-go, experienced players. Adding a seasoned veteran to help backup an offensive front that was quite vulnerable to injuries last year is completely necessary.
I chose not to go with defensive end, because pickings tend to be slim in free agency. A solid edge rusher always seems to be one of the most prized possessions in free agency, and rarely do they end up hitting the open market. When they do, they tend to get overpaid. So while I would argue that edge rusher is the Lions’ top need, adding a starter in free agency just isn’t all that likely. That being said, a defensive tackle addition would make a lot of sense.