At first blush I was disappointed with the way the Lions offseason was going and thought that the Lions were doing it again. Ndamukong Suh went to the Dolphins, Nick Fairley went to the Rams and George Johnson was traded to the Buccaneers. To say that I was disappointed with Suh signing with Miami is an understatement any Lions should have been upset by that. The Lions though are trying to change the image of being the same old Lions and instead of resting on their laurels they traded for Ravens DT Haloti Ngata. True Ngata is 31 and entering his 10th season in the league and while some will insist that he is on the downside of his career even they will agree that Nagta will be a force to be reckoned with someone who will draw double teams on almost every play. Upon looking closer at Nick Fairley I realized it was no great loss in his four seasons in Detroit Fairley never played a full season. This past season in 8 games he had 14 tackles and 1 sack before going down with a season ending injury. The Lions signed to replace Fairley ex-Saints DT Tyrunn Walker entering his fourth season in the league. Walker on 284 snaps last season had 14 quarterback hurries and 2.5 sacks playing behind a rather deep defensive line in New Orleans. Despite that according to the PFF rankings Walker was ranked as the 21st DT in the league. Now with a chance to start alongside Haloti Ngata, Walker should flourish this season. I haven’t seen a signing that replace George Johnson who was #2 on the team in sacks last season with 6 behind Suh’s 8.5. I think Johnson who has been a career backup and never had a sack until last season should be easily replaceable in the draft.
On the plus side the Lions re-signed K Matt Prater who entering his 9th season should hopefully be the Lions kicker for the next decade a true replacement for Jason Hanson who retired after the 2012 season. Prater last season in 11 games went 21 of 26 for a FG Percentage of 80.8 only slightly lower than his career average of 81.5. Hanson’s career average by the way over 21 seasons 82.4 so hopefully Prater will be around Detroit for some time.
I was hoping from the free agent wide receivers on the market that Lions could find a legitimate #3 receiver. I don’t feel that Jeremy Ross, Corey Fuller or Ryan Broyles are the answer, Wes Welker despite the fact that he tends to be concussion prone (much like Wayne Chrebet before him) and is entering his 12th season, I think Welker would be a better target then those three, or maybe the Lions have their eye on someone in the draft.
Final Grade: B+