Detroit Lions March Scouting Report
There have been some interesting developments in free agency with the Lions who were aggressive in the open market. Let's take a look at the latest news.
QB: Not much to report here in free agency. Backup QB Matt Cassel has not signed a new deal. Perhaps the Lions will wait until the draft to find a new backup quarterback. There was some thought that with the Lions hiring Darrell Bevell as their new offensive coordinator, and Bevell previously working in Seattle with Russell Wilson, that maybe the Lions would be interested in Kyler Murray, but with most expecting Murray to go #1 now, that talk has died. It's worth noting that the Lions spent more heavily on defense in free agency, as all indications are the coaches want this team to be a smash mouth running team on offense, with a strong defense. Which means the fantasy value of QB Matthew Stafford will stay low due to this philosophy. There is a hole on the offensive line with OG TJ Lang getting released as he appears to be retiring.
RB: The Lions re-signed QB Zach Zenner so he will be in the mix for the backup job behind RB Kerryon Johnson. They are searching for more upgrades though. RB Spencer Ware was in for a visit. They also signed Rams restricted free agent RB Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet but the Rams matched it. Kerryon isn't projected to be a 30 touch per week workhorse, so depth at the running back position will be important and I think they want someone to compete with Zenner for the backup job. With the free agent market drying up, a mid round draft pick could be used on a running back.
WR/TE: The Lions signed WR Danny Amendola as a short term fix to their hole at slot receiver. They are searching for help from some second tier guys as well. WR Tommylee Lewis signed with Detroit as he is formerly of the Saints as most remember from the NFC Championship game. The Lions also just had a visit with WR Dontrelle Inman. The bigger impact free agent signing could be TE Jesse James, formerly of the Steelers. We knew the Lions would need to rebuild their tight end position and James was one of the better options on the market. He's young and figures to start. There is more work to do at the position as indicated by the signing of TE Logan Thomas. He hasn't produced much in the NFL so I am not sure what the plans are for him. I think there were a few mock drafts that had Detroit going tight end in round 1, but I don't consider that likely.
K/DST: The Lions signed one of the top ranked free agents on everybody's list in DE Trey Flowers from New England. They probably overpaid at 5 years $90 million, but they wanted him and they got him, as the Lions continue their attempt to turn into Patriots Midwest. There is a bit of a shakeup in the secondary in this free agency period. First, the Lions released S Glover Quin and CB Nevin Lawson, who were starters. Quin has lost a step so that wasn't a surprise. Lawson was more of a cap casualty as Detroit's second biggest signing after Flowers was CB Justin Coleman (4 years, $36 M).
Next month we will preview the draft and perhaps take a look at the 2019 schedule if it has been released in mid April as usual. The Lions received no compensatory picks and as of now have a total of nine picks: one pick in rounds 1 through 5, and two picks in round 6 and 7.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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