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2013 NFL Offseason: Detroit Lions

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents

Detroit Lions (Last Year: 4-12)

2013 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
RB Reggie Bush, G Leroy Harris, G Jake Scott, DE Israel Idonije, DE/DT Jason Jones, DT C.J. Mosley, S Glover Quin, K David Akers, K Havard Rugland, KR Michael Spurlock.
Early Draft Picks:
DE Ezekiel Ansah, CB Darius Slay, G Larry Warford, DE Devin Taylor, P Sam Martin. Lions Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
RB Kevin Smith, WR Titus Young, WR Kassim Osgood, TE Will Heller, OT Jeff Backus, OT Gosder Cherilus, G Stephen Peterman, DE Cliff Avril, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE Lawrence Jackson, DT Corey Williams, DT Sammie Lee Hill, DT Andre Fluellen, OLB Justin Durant, CB Jacob Lacey, CB Drayton Florence, K Jason Hanson.

2013 Detroit Lions Offense:
So much talent, so little production. The Lions' offense may have been the single-most disappointing group in the NFL this past season. Matthew Stafford threw for 4,967 yards, and Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice's single-season yardage mark, yet Detroit's scoring attack produced just 37 touchdowns. A team like the Saints, for example, posted 58. Drew Brees was responsible for 43 himself.

Detroit had a ton of bad luck. Many of Stafford's bombs to Megatron landed at the 1-yard line. Give-aways were also an issue; the Lions maintained a horrific turnover ratio of minus-16. And then there were the drops. Brandon Pettigrew tied for third among all tight ends with nine balls that fell through his hands. Megatron was also sloppy, finishing only behind Wes Welker in drops (14).

The Lions have the play-makers to turn things around. Stafford, when he's not careless with the football, is one of the league's most-talented passers. He has a cannon for an arm and is great at lobbing deep shots to Megatron, who is unquestionably the most gifted receiver in the NFL right now. And then there's the aforementioned Pettigrew, who was a first-round pick in 2009. He has issues with holding on to the football, but if he would just concentrate, he could be one of the better tight ends in the league.

Stafford lacked two things last year: a No. 2 receiver and a running game. The former is still a questionable area. Nate Burleson will be back after missing 10 games in 2012 with a broken leg, but his best days are behind him. Ryan Broyles has shown a ton of promise, with his best performance (6 catches, 126 yards) coming against the Texans on Thanksgiving, but he tore his ACL in December. Broyles was already deemed injury-prone before that, so even if he makes it back in time, there's no guarantee that he'll be able to stay healthy.

As for the second lacking area, Detroit does have something to work with on the ground for a change. The front office signed Reggie Bush away from the Dolphins in mid-March. Bush has an extensive injury history of his own, but he missed just one contest in two years with the Dolphins. He rushed for 1,086 yards and 986 yards in his two campaigns in Miami. More importantly, he'll serve as a potent, pass-catching weapon coming out of the backfield. Stafford will love dumping the ball off to him rather than forcing the issue downfield.

The one thing that could easily derail the Lions' offensive is the front line. Left tackle Jeff Backus announced his retirement this offseason, while right tackle Gosder Cherilus signed with the Colts. That leaves the dinosaur-armed Riley Reiff and seldom-used Corey Hilliard. Reiff looked decent when playing right tackle this past season, but his one start as Stafford's blind-side protector (vs. Houston) proved to be disastrous. Hilliard, meanwhile, didn't even play in 2012. He has started a few games over the years, but has never performed well doing so.

Outside pass-rushers are going to destroy Stafford, so Detroit needs to be solid in the interior. A third-round pick was spent on Kentucky product Larry Warford, a massive guard who dominated the Senior Bowl. The other guard, Rob Sims, was exceptional in 2012; he didn't allow a single sack. Sims and Warford flank center Dominic Raiola, who performed surprisingly well last season after a few underwhelming years. It's possible that Raiola could regress again though, given that he'll turn 35 on Dec. 30.

2013 Detroit Lions Defense:
Detroit's defense has been improving recently. Its ranking in terms of yards allowed per play over the past five years has been 32nd, 32nd, 22nd, 20th and 18th. Unfortunately, the Lions are highly unlikely to creep into the top half in 2013, thanks to all of the players they lost this offseason.

Starting defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch are both history. The latter struggled immensely last year, but Avril still got the job done, logging a team-high 9.5 sacks. The Lions had to respond by signing someone in free agency, but all they came up with was former Seahawk Jason Jones, who played for Jim Schwartz in Tennessee. Jones, however, was a defensive tackle with the Titans, so he's out of place as the team's left end. Detroit then went on to spend the No. 5 overall selection on Ziggy Ansah, a highly athletic but raw prospect out of BYU. There have been Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons made for Ansah, stemming from their foreign backgrounds and lack of experience playing football, but it'll take time for this rookie to develop. He likely won't be feared by defenses until 2014. Fourth-round rookie Devin Taylor might be able to be more productive right away, but he definitely doesn't possess Ansah's upside.

The two interior linemen will have to make up for Jones' poor fit and Ansah and Taylor's inexperience. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have the talent to be absolutely dominant. The two combined for 13.5 sacks in 2012, which is a high figure for players at their position. They need to crack down on another high number, however. They were penalized on 15 occasions in total last year. That needs to be cut in half at the very least. Senseless infractions like the ones Suh and Fairley routinely commit absolutely kill their team because it allows the opposition to continue drives and eventually score.

Suh and Fairley must stay healthy because there's very little depth at defensive tackle with Corey Williams and Sammie Lee Hill both gone. If they can remain on the field, they'll accumulate a bunch of sacks, which will help an improving secondary. The Lions signed Glover Quin, a safety from Houston, on the second day of free agency. Quin was solid in terms of run support and coverage, so he'll be a solid starter next to Louis Delmas - assuming Delmas can actually stay injury-free. Just as Bob Sanders used to be for the Colts, Delmas is great when healthy, but he's seldom not nursing some sort of malady.

Quin wasn't the only big acquisition the Lions made this offseason to help their secondary. They also spent a second-round pick on Mississippi State's Darius Slay. The rookie will compete with last year's second-day selection, Dwight Bentley, to be the starting corner across from Chris Houston. A recipient of a new 5-year deal this spring, Houston was torched on national television against the Falcons, but was very solid otherwise in 2012. He surrendered just one touchdown excluding the Atlanta game.

The Lions don't have a strong linebacking corps. Stephen Tulloch isn't bad, but he's been a bit disappointing as the team's man in the middle. He did not do well in run support last year. DeAndre Levy also struggled in that regard. The third member of the group this past season was Justin Durant, but he's no longer on the roster. Someone named Ashlee Palmer will take over as the two-down strongside linebacker. Palmer barely played in 2012, but he looked pretty pedestrian when he was on the field.

2013 Detroit Lions Schedule and Intangibles:
The Lions, historically, have one of the worst home-field advantages in the NFL, owning a horrendous 60-76 record since 1996. But that's nothing compared to their 29-108 road mark during that span. They were 2-6 both home and away in 2012.

Detroit surrendered a ridiculous four special-teams scores in 2012. Stefan Logan was outgained on both kickoff and punt returns, but Reggie Bush might be able to fix that.

Jason Hanson finally announced his retirement, so the Lions brought in David Akers and Havard Rugland to compete for the job. Akers struggled last year, but only because he was injured.

Detroit has a rookie punter; the team spent a fifth-round pick on Sam Martin.

So much for having a last-place schedule. The Lions have seven games against teams that made the playoffs last year: Packers (twice), Vikings (twice), Ravens, Bengals and Redskins. They also have to deal with the Bears (twice), Giants and Steelers.

2013 Detroit Lions Rookies:
Go here for the Lions Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2013 Detroit Lions Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):

Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2013 Detroit Lions Analysis: The Lions have plenty of talent on their roster, but that was the case last year when they went 4-12. They're a team that has tons of potential, but the lack of discipline and a losing mentality constantly derails their chances. Detroit has been expected to grow up for years. It's never happened, and there's no reason to think this season will be any different, especially with the amount of questions they have on their offensive line.

Projection: 6-10 (4th in NFC North)

2013 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2013 NFL Season Previews


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Dream Draft 2 04-09-2014 09:41 pm (total posts: 1)
1     2

1. Anthony Barr, OLB, add some explosion to the LB corps.
2. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Get a proper NR 2 across form Calvin, imagine two 6"5 freaks lining up with tate in the slot
3. Marcus Martin, C, Good athletic ability, can learn a year under Dominic
4. Kareem Martin, DE, Good athltic ability, might not be able to start immediately but him and Taylor can split duties
4. Daniel Mccullers, DT, competition for Fairley
4. Spencer Long, G, Depth and eventual replacement of Sims
6. Dezmen Southward, S, get a safety to sit for 2 years behind the veterans, it takes safeties time to adapt anyway
7. Jamae Thomas, S, same story really, replace everything
Dream Draft 03-23-2014 07:56 pm (total posts: 1)
7     16

Perfect draft:
1: Justin Gilbert, CB; Finally a good corner, should be sorted for years to come
2: Donte Moncrief, WR; Super explosive weapon, him, tate and megatron will be a terror
3: Travis Swanson, C; Future replacement for Dominic Raiola, bring him in now so he can be mentored
4: Dion Bailey, S; Replacement for Delmas, further improve the secondary
6: Will Clarke, DE; Some more D-line depth, nice project
7: Spencer Long, G; Great player, can take a redshirt and learn and eventually take over for Sims

Mike Williams projection 03-16-2014 01:18 am (total posts: 1)
5     1

Seems like they're planning on moving glover quinn over to fs and having James ihedigbo play in the box. I know glover may have originally been a ss but with the lions interest in tj ward and now ihedigbo, that really seems like the case. Whatever mayhews got up his sleeve on this one I just hope it works out we need to get better with our passing defense.
WyattBurp 02-13-2014 04:54 pm (total posts: 14)
3     4

DETROIT LIONS. My team let the division get away from them, last season. Stafford is an elite QB, so I'm expecting him to get back on track and put up some dominant numbers under Head Coach Jim Caldwell. Youth just has to learn how to finish games.

GREEN BAY PACKERS. This team is just great. Nothing bad to say about the Packers. They're showing the league how it's done.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS. Surprised that they finished last in the NFC North, they'll do better than the Bears, certainly.

CHICAGO BEARS. They are an old, washed-up team. They'll finish last for certain in 2014.
Thurston Howell III 02-11-2014 01:02 am (total posts: 1)
5     60

matthew stafford looks like a lesbian

and I didn't wanna say nothing but heard if Suh even sneezes wrong while driving to church the Detroit PD is gonna pull him over and make him feel like he wished he never left africa. i'm talking pints of blood needed type beat down cause the city is broke and they need a pi
Lionsfan123197 01-13-2014 09:17 pm (total posts: 1)
151     287

Hones,Ty, the problem at CB is everybody keeps saying to stack the position. We have Vets at the position who need to give the younger guys more time. We can't say Slay stinks because Rasean Mathis was signed. Secant say Bill Bentley cant cover the slot if he's only been played outside where he's been okay for a 4th rounder IMO. Jonte Green could get more play time as well. The problem is that we keep getting more. WR is not a major need. It is, but not in the 1st. If Watkins is there, take him. If not, no big deal, fill it in the 2nd and pass on Evans and Lee.
You also forgot to mention DT. I heard some people say that Suh and or Fairley should be traded for another 1st rounder so we can get Louis Nix! Don't know why as Suh and Fairley seem okay to me, but after them, the rest of the DTs SUCK.
Kicker is one of my bigger worries with this team, TE should be great with Williams and Fauria and Backup QB can be a compensatory pick, Devin Taylor is a future star, so no need for DE if we resign Willie, especially with Jason Jones.
ryan 01-13-2014 04:04 pm (total posts: 1)
128     3

lions were 7-9
Jay 01-13-2014 03:56 pm (total posts: 1)
5     3

Actually, this was pretty spot on. I'd put CB as the #1 need and WR #2, but thats argumentative. Good job
Larisa 01-04-2014 12:15 am (total posts: 1)
4     3

Sure they do….everyone starts 0-0 they have a 1 in 32 chnage of winning the Super Bowl right now, logically speaking…And what if you are there the day the beat the Colts, or the patriots, or the the Saints, or the Vikings…that would be something to talk about for the next 4 years if you are a Lions fan- #12 -
Mark 01-02-2014 04:20 am (total posts: 1)
3     3

Your article was exllceent and erudite.
WyattBurp 07-14-2013 01:49 pm (total posts: 14)
189     399

@Peppers & Allen. For a couple of old, washed up ends, you certainly talk some impressive smack. I'm certain all the money your teams wasted on you went to twinkies and beer. I'm expecting absolutely nothing from either of you, so just stand on the sidelines and talk all you want. Here's my prediction:

Bears: Last in NFC North
Vikings: 8-8

Enjoy the games you have left. There aren't many of those, thank goodness!
Julius Peppers & Jared Allen 07-12-2013 02:40 pm (total posts: 6)
1059     1201

There is nothing we look more forward to this season than beating the Lions' sorry OTs on speed rushes and smashing Stafford's ugly kisser into the turf.

Enjoy your IR time, China Doll!
Charles Rouleau 07-10-2013 04:41 pm (total posts: 1)
63     151

Your positional rankings are terrible. CJ automatically makes it at least four stars. And did you really give their D-line 3 stars. They have the best DT pair in the NFL. ST will be much better than last year and deserve at least three stars. O-line is not as bad as everyone thinks. Rieff may be young but is already as good if not better than Backus. The RT will be the only real question mark and will not see a huge amount of scrutiny because of Warford being a star RG and making up for either Fox's or Hillard's shortcomings. Linebackers are very underrated. Tulloch is a top 5 inside LB who gets not respect and Levy is a respectable starter. Whoever comes out on the other side should be our breakout player and I feel its down to Whitehead or T. Lewis who will both be solid starters in the NFL. Reggie Bush's addition should make the RBs higher than three stars. He will bring stability to the offense giving the Lions a premier target other than CJ. Stafford is severely motivated and will have a tremendous season even without solid protection. Lions are a breakout team who should challenge for a division in a weakened NFC North.
bbb 07-10-2013 01:19 pm (total posts: 1)
49     46

I say 9-7
Adam 07-09-2013 07:11 pm (total posts: 1)
20     39

In defense of the Lions' players:

Blah blah "Reiff's arms" comment. It's already been said. He's a tackle through and through and performed decently in his one start.

Receivers: You actually should bump this up a star. There were questions about the number 2 receiver in the past, yes, but like you said about running backs, that has changed drastically with the acquisition of Reggie Bush, the premier pass-catching first back. Putting Bush in the slot takes pressure off of Broyles and Patrick Edwards, both of the big names at the position. Every running back on the roster (with the exclusion of Leshuore) actually has a history of being a strong pass-catching back.

Offensive Line: Reiff's solid. Rob Sims dominates on his side. Raiola was only in a slump because he was picking up after Stephen Peterman's mistakes. Larry Warford just straight up MAULS. Jason Fox, who I assume is taking over at right tackle, is a high quality player. His only issue was injuries, which he seems to have taken care of. We'll see how he fares.

Defensive Line: First off, way to not acknowledge Idonije. Bringing in his veteran presence bolsters every position on the line and sets a great example for what we want in a player, one who worked hard from special teams and made it to starting. Suh and Fairley are also taking over as vocal leaders, so while there may be more penalties (I'm assuming there will be more aggression), they're going to be more controlled and setting an example.

Linebackers: I'll give you that they're questionable at best.

Secondary: While unproven as a unit, each individual player is strong. Houston has been solid in our scheme for years. Across from him will be Darius Slay, a great pick up, with Bill Bentley covering the slot. They're an incredibly dynamic and high potential group. And that's not even mentioning the players that we're holding as depth: Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green, both potential high-caliber back-ups. In terms of safeties, Delmas is an absolute game changer when healthy. Glover Quin is great in that he is going to be incredibly consistent whereas Delmas will take those risks.

Special Teams: I'll need to see how they do in blocking and coverage, but the unit evolved over the course of last year to actually being decent at the very end. Stefan Logan just wasn't the answer at returner, but now we have a multitude of strong options as his replacement. The kicker battle is something to watch as well. If Akers isn't going to be healthy, Havard Rugland has an absolute rocket of a leg. We just have to see if he stays calm under pressure. Sam Martin, the punter that was drafted in the 5th round, was actually a very good pick. He booms kickoffs consistently if we need him to and had a great history of punting high with decent air time. There's no doubt that this will sway how the team does dramatically. How many other teams can say that the player they drafted in the fifth round is going to be a surefire starter?

2013 NFL Draft Grade: B

Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.

Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Lions are the only team in the top 10 that has its quarterback position shored up. Thus, they have to build around their franchise signal-caller. Matthew Stafford must be protected, and linemen are needed more than ever in the wake of Jeff Backus' retirement. Another wideout has to be found. On the other side of the ball, a pass-rusher must be obtained to help beat Aaron Rodgers.

2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Lions had to address both sides of the line of scrimmage. They may have fixed one. Ezekiel Ansah has monstrous pass-rushing talent. He showcased it at the Senior Bowl, where he was coached by Jim Schwartz and the rest of Detroit's staff. Devin Taylor (No. 132) was a needed second defensive end. The Lions lost Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, but they now have two promising prospects as replacements.

The offensive line is still in shambles, however. Detroit had to find two upgrades: one left tackle and another blocker, either a right tackle or a guard depending on where the team wanted to use Riley Reiff. It appears as though Reiff will remain at tackle because Larry Warford was taken in the third round in what I thought was a tremendous pick. However, as it stands now, Reiff, Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox are the only tackles on the roster. With Clay Matthews, Jared Allen and Julius Peppers in the division, there's a good chance Matthew Stafford doesn't make it through the 2013 season.

The Lions made some decent picks elsewhere, though they did burn a mid-rounder on a punter when one could have just been obtained after the draft. The team is definitely better now, but its No. 1 glaring issue still remains.

2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

5. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: B+ Grade
Finally, a good pick! I'm tired of bashing these teams. Well, OK, maybe not. But this selection makes so much sense. The Lions had a close look at Ezekiel Ansah at the Senior Bowl where he dominated the competition during the actual game. He's a great fit in Detroit's wide-nine formation, and will replace the departed Cliff Avril. He'll be instrumental in Detroit's pursuit of Green Bay in the NFC North.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

36. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State: B- Grade
Darius Slay was projected to go in the first half of the second round, so the range of this pick makes sense. Cornerback was also a need, though not as great of a need as people think. Having said that, what Detroit plans on doing at left tackle is beyond me. Matthew Stafford probably won't make it through the 2013 season.

65. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: A Grade
This is an awesome pick. Larry Warford should have been chosen near the top of the second round. He is monstrous mauler who figures to be a huge upgrade on the interior of Detroit's offensive line.

132. Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina: B Grade
The Lions had to find two defensive ends in this draft because they lost both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Devin Taylor is a good fit in the wide-nine formation, and this is the right range for him.

165. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State: C- Grade
Unlike the Vikings, Detroit actually needed a punter. But this is still a bad pick. Again, it's like selecting a kicker in the 10th or 11th round of a fantasy league. It's lazy. Solid punters can be found as undrafted free agents.

171. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech: B- Grade
I'm surprised the Lions waited this long for a receiver. I feel like there were better options than Corey Fuller, but this is still a fine pick. It's just disappointing that Detroit couldn't secure a solid No. 2 option across from Calvin Johnson.

199. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame: B Grade
Reggie Bush isn't exactly the most reliable player in the league, so it's good that the Lions added some depth at running back. At the very worst, Riddick will add some punch in the return game.

211. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama: A- Grade
This is a solid pick. I thought Michael Williams would go earlier than this. Detroit got a good look at him at the Senior Bowl. The team needed some tight end depth.

245. Brandon Perburn, ILB, Florida A&M: B Grade
The Lions needed linebacker help, so this makes sense in terms of both need and draft range.

Season Summary:
Detroit fans had to feel like they were reliving Groundhog Day over and over. It was the same thing each week. The team looked very good at times, but did several things to sabotage a potential victory. Jim Schwartz hasn't shown an ability to correct this issue, so he should have been fired. The Lions, however, will continue on with him for another season.

Offseason Moves:
  • Lions sign DE Israel Idonije
  • Lions sign G Jake Scott
  • Lions sign KR Michael Spurlock
  • 49ers sign WR Kassim Osgood
  • Lions sign G Leroy Harris
  • Lions sign K Havard Rugland
  • Bears sign DT Andre Fluellen
  • Lions cut WR Brian Robiskie
  • Lions sign K David Akers
  • Lions announce retirement of K Jason Hanson
  • Lions sign DT C.J. Mosley
  • Cowboys sign OLB Justin Durant
  • Lions re-sign S Louis Delmas
  • Lions re-sign C Dylan Gandy
  • Lions announce retirement of OT Jeff Backus
  • Lions sign S Glover Quin
  • Lions sign RB Reggie Bush
  • Seahawks sign DE Cliff Avril
  • Lions sign DT Jason Jones
  • Lions re-sign CB Chris Houston
  • Titans sign DT Sammie Lee Hill
  • Panthers sign CB Drayton Florence
  • Lions re-sign S Amari Spievey
  • Colts sign OT Gosder Cherilus
  • Lions tender DE Willie Young
  • Lions tender OT Jason Fox
  • Lions re-sign OLB DeAndre Levy
  • Lions sign P Blake Clingan
  • Lions re-sign OT Corey Hilliard
  • Lions cut G Stephen Peterman
  • Lions cut DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
  • Lions waive WR Titus Young

    Team Needs:
    1. Offensive Tackle: Jeff Backus has retired, so a new left tackle is needed. A right tackle will also have to be found if Detroit moves Riley Reiff to guard. Re-signed Corey Hilliard

    2. Two Defensive Ends: Only one defensive end will be needed if the Lions can retain Cliff Avril. They'll have to upgrade Kyle Vanden Bosch, who struggled in every aspect of the game this past season. He's done. Drafted Ezekiel Ansah and Devin Taylor; signed Israel Idonije and Jason Jones

    3. Two Safeties: Louis Delmas is an impending free agent, but he barely played because he was always injured. Detroit had nothing outside of Delmas at the safety position, so the front office will need to find two upgrades there if the Western Michigan product isn't brought back. Signed Glover Quin; re-signed Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey

    4. Cornerback: It wouldn't be an offseason if the Lions didn't need a cornerback. Chris Houston is a free agent, while Dwight "Bullet Bill" Bentley did not look good in three starts - even for a third-round rookie. Re-signed Chris Houston; drafted Darius Slay; signed D.J. Johnson

    5. Two Outside Linebackers: Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy are a couple of other free agents that Detroit will have to re-sign. Perhaps Travis Lewis will get a chance if one of them leaves, but he was just a seventh-round rookie in 2012 who barely saw the field. Re-signed DeAndre Levy

    6. Wide Receiver: It's Calvin Johnson, and that's it. Ryan Broyles, who looked promising, tore yet another ACL. Titus Young, meanwhile, actually tried to sabotage a potential Detroit victory by intentionally lining up in the wrong spots. Matthew Stafford won't win many games throwing to Mike Thomas, Kris Durham and Brian Robiskie.

    7. Right Guard: Stephen Peterman might have been Detroit's worst offensive lineman when it came to pass protection this year, which is saying a lot. He'll have to be upgraded. Eric Fisher could be picked at No. 5, which would push Riley Reiff inside. Signed Leroy Harris; drafted Larry Warford

    8. Running Back: It's a shame, but Jahvid Best may never play again. If that's the case, the Lions are stuck with Big Ten plodder Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell, whom they don't completely trust to carry the ball because of fumbling issues. Signed Reggie Bush

    9. Kicker: Jason Hanson has retired. The Lions need a new kicker for the first time in ages. Signed David Akers and Havard Rugland

    10. Center: A successor for Dominic Raiola should be acquired.

    11. Punter: Nick Harris had the seventh-worst net average among starting punters. Drafted Sam Martin; signed Blake Clingan

    2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Glover Quin, S, Texans. Age: 27.
      Signed with Lions

      A converted cornerback, Glover Quin has starred in his new safety role over the past couple of years. He was particularly sound in 2012, so he deserves a nice contract.

    2. Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins. Age: 28.
      Signed with Lions

      Reggie Bush has managed to stay mostly healthy the past two years, which is obviously a good sign. He wasn't utilized enough this past season until the Dolphins finally realized that they should use him as a receiver on occasion. The result was Bush gaining 100-plus yards from scrimmage in three of his final four games.

    3. David Akers, K, 49ers. Age: 38.
      Signed with Lions

      David Akers was notorious for blowing tons of field goals in 2012. He went just 29-of-42. On the bright side, he was 4-of-5 in the playoffs. Akers is not ranked low because he dealt with a sports hernia last year. He could easily bounce back.

    4. Jason Jones, DT, Seahawks. Age: 27.
      Signed with Lions

      Jason Jones is a quality interior pass-rusher who was lost late in the year to a knee injury.

    5. Israel Idonije, DE, Bears. Age: 32.
      Signed with Lions (1 year)

      Israel Idonije is coming off a fantastic season in terms of getting to the quarterback (7.5 sacks) and stopping the run. He'll be 33 in November, however.

    6. C.J. Mosley, DT, Jaguars. Age: 30.
      Signed with Lions

      C.J. Mosley was released by the Jaguars because he was owed about $2.5 million and didn't fit Gus Bradley's system. Mosley is a stout run-defender, but doesn't offer any pass-rushing ability.

    7. Michael Spurlock, WR/KR, Chargers. Age: 30.
      Signed with Lions

      Michael Spurlock scored two special-teams touchdowns in 2012. He also recorded seven catches for 64 yards in one game as a slot receiver.

    8. Leroy Harris, G, Titans. Age: 29. -- Signed with Lions
    9. Jake Scott, G, Eagles. Age: 32. -- Signed with Lions

    Detroit Lions Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Louis Delmas, S, Lions. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Lions (2 years)

      Louis Delmas is one of the most talented safeties in the NFL, but he just can't stay healthy. He's missed 13 games in the past two seasons.

    2. Cliff Avril, DE, Lions. Age: 27.
      Signed with Seahawks

      Cliff Avril is a relatively young, dynamic pass-rusher, but he tends to struggle in run support. He rejected a 3-year, $30 million deal last offseason.

    3. Jason Hanson, K, Lions. Age: 43.
      Announced retirement

      Jason Hanson is somehow still getting it done. He hit nearly 90 percent of his field goals this year with a couple of conversions from 50-plus.

    4. Chris Houston, CB, Lions. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Lions

      Chris Houston was torched on national television against the Falcons, but he was very solid otherwise in 2012. He surrendered just one touchdown excluding the Atlanta game.

    5. Justin Durant, OLB, Lions. Age: 27.
      Signed with Cowboys

      Justin Durant has been very solid in run support for the Lions over the past couple of years. He should be limited to two downs though because he's not that good in coverage.

    6. Sammie Lee Hill, DT, Lions. Age: 26.
      Signed with Titans (3 years, $11.4 million)

      Sammie Lee Hill could start for some teams, as he does a decent job of pressuring the quarterback. He just hasn't had much of a chance in Detroit because he's been behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Corey Williams on the depth chart.

    7. Titus Young (Waivers), WR, Lions. Age: 24.
      Claimed by Rams

      There's no questioning Titus Young's talent, but he's a major head case. He started off last season by punching teammate Louis Delmas. He then sabotaged a game against the Packers by intentionally lining up in the wrong spots. And to top it off, he continued to mouth off on Twitter during the offseason, indicating that he hadn't learned his lesson. I wouldn't touch him, but there might be a coach out there who can turn him around.

    8. DeAndre Levy, OLB, Lions. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Lions

      DeAndre Levy is a big liability in run support, but he's much better on passing downs.

    9. Gosder Cherilus, OT, Lions. Age: 29.
      Signed with Colts

      One of Matt Millen's busts, Gosder Cherilus is actually coming off one of his better seasons, though that still involved approaching double-digit penalties. Cherilus was OK as a blocker.

    10. Jacob Lacey, CB, Lions. Age: 26.
      Jacob Lacey started slow this season, but excelled ever since he was moved into the nickel role.

    11. Corey Williams, DT, Lions. Age: 33.
      Corey Williams should still be able to be a solid rotational lineman, but his best days are behind him. He played in only seven games in 2012.

    12. Kevin Smith, RB, Lions. Age: 26.
      Kevin Smith looked pretty good spelling Jahvid Best last year, so I'm not sure why he barely played this season. He's very injury-prone, but that shouldn't prevent him from seeing the field when healthy.

    13. Stephen Peterman, G, Lions. Age: 31.
      Stephen Peterman played well a couple of years ago, but struggled last season in terms of pass protection. Maybe he'll be able to rebound in a city.

    14. Amari Spievey (RFA), S, Lions. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year)
    15. Lawrence Jackson, DE, Lions. Age: 28.
    16. Drayton Florence, CB, Lions. Age: 32. -- Signed with Panthers (1 year)
    17. Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE, Lions. Age: 34.
    18. Will Heller, TE, Lions. Age: 32.
    19. Kassim Osgood, WR, Lions. Age: 33. -- Signed with 49ers
    20. Willie Young (RFA), DE, Lions. Age: 27. -- Tendered by Lions (2nd round)
    21. Nick Harris, P, Lions. Age: 35.
    22. Jason Fox (RFA), OT, Lions. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Lions (original)
    23. Andre Fluellen, DT, Lions. Age: 28. -- Signed with Bears
    24. Corey Hilliard, OT, Lions. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Lions (2 years)
    25. Dylan Gandy, C, Lions. Age: 31. -- Re-signed with Lions (1 year)
    26. Brian Robiskie, WR, Lions. Age: 25. -- Re-signed with Lions
    27. Stefan Logan, RB/PR, Lions. Age: 32.
    28. Pat Lee, CB, Lions. Age: 29.

    2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Aug. 1

    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - July 23

    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1

    NFL Free Agents

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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