Once again, the Detroit Lions have a desperate need on the interior of the defensive line. A unit that looked like it was going to be great entering the 2019 season was a huge disappointment and now needs to be revamped entirely with Damon Harrison Sr., A’Shawn Robinson and Mike Daniels all needing to be replaced this offseason.
Now Detroit has a chance to add a few names in free agency to help bolster their defensive front before the NFL draft. Here are a few names set to hit the free agent market that the team may show interest in.
D.J. Reader (Houston Texans)
D.J. Reader is a PODcast favorite, and for good reason. The Texans defensive tackle was a top level run stuffer in 2019 and was a standout player on Houston’s defensive front. He accounted for 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season and closed out his rookie contract with a season to remember. The former fifth-round pick is set to get the first real payday of his career this offseason, and the Lions may have to compete with a few other suitors for his services.
Jarran Reed (Seattle Seahawks)
Jarran Reed is another player set to hit free agency after closing out his rookie contract in 2019. The Seahawks defensive tackle struggled a bit in his contract year, only playing 10 games and notching only two sacks. For a player who primarily makes a name for himself as a pass penetrator, that number is incredibly disappointing.
Reed was a stud in 2018, though. He had a breakout season that saw him earn 10.5 sacks, and he was also credited with 24 QB hits. If he can return to his past form, then he has potential to be an elite defensive tackle, and he should be a bargain as a poor 2019 showing has definitely hurt his market value.
Michael Brockers (Los Angeles Rams)
The Rams long-time star is set to play for another team for the first time in his career. Brockers was the team’s first-round selection in 2012 draft and has been a staple of their defensive front ever since. While Aaron Donald obviously dominates the headlines in Los Angeles, Brockers has quietly continued his high level play over the years as well.
The 29 year old has been the perfect complement to Donald. Despite his older age, he set a career high with 63 combined tackles in 2019. His ability as a run stuffer has been the perfect backup for Donald to work as a pass penetrator. Brockers may not be too expensive, but he can give Detroit an elite run stopper up front with years of pedigree who has shown no signs of slowing down.
Javon Hargrave (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Javon Hargrave may be the top name of the free agent class. The 2016 third-round selection erupted as a star on the Steelers surprisingly great defense in 2019. The interior defensive lineman was great against both the pass and the run last year. He set a career high with 60 combined tackles and also notched up four sacks.
Hargrave is set to get paid, and just like a few others on this list, it will be his first meaningful contract. He should have suitors from across the league, and while he would be expensive, he is the type of player the Lions need.
Michael Pierce (Baltimore Ravens)
Michael Pierce would be a great alternative to Brockers if the Lions miss out on the Rams’ long-time star. Pierce is also a top level run stuffer, and the former undrafted free agent may suit up outside of Baltimore for the first time in his career.
Pierce was credited with 35 combined tackles in 14 games in 2019. He does not bring much as a pass penetrator, but he could prove to be a great replacement for Harrison up front. He may be an expensive target, though, as many teams may seek out his services to bolster their run defense.