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Detroit Lions March Scouting Report
James Hintz

The Lions have been active to kick off the new league year, as they hope to have a strong offseason and to continue building on the momentum of a strong finish to the 2022 season. Let’s take a look at the latest news from the early stages of free agency.

QB: The Lions are bringing QB Nate Sudfeld back on a 1 year deal to presumably be the backup to QB Jared Goff again. This was a bit of a surprise, as Brad Holmes all but admitted that they wanted to upgrade at backup quarterback, and bringing Sudfeld back isn’t an upgrade. There were some decent names available in free agency, for example the likes of Mariota, Darnold, Minshew, etc, that could have solidified the backup spot here in Detroit, but I never heard any serious talk at all that the Lions were in the market for those guys or any other "big" names. It’s interesting because it has to make you wonder if the Lions are thinking about drafting a quarterback, and if so, what round? I believe they should strongly consider a quarterback at 6 but that remains a long shot to actually happen. Maybe they would look at someone like Hendon Hooker in round 2. Or some sports talk radio callers want Stetson Bennett in the middle rounds. No thanks on that one for me. Remember, Goff has two years left on his deal. If they don’t draft a quarterback early, they will think about giving him an extension later this summer.

RB: Fan favorite RB Jamaal Williams signed with the Saints, but the Lions added RB David Montgomery, formerly of the Bears. If you believe the rumblings, the Lions made Williams an offer, but he didn’t like it, so the Lions moved on to Montgomery, and Williams ended up settling for a lesser deal from the Saints, so perhaps Williams and his agent misread the market. Montgomery is an upgrade over Williams as he is more versatile. He also has a solid track record of staying on the field, which has been a question for RB D’Andre Swift in recent years. Montgomery projects as the starter for now, with Swift rotating in. There is room for a rookie as well should they go that direction with a mid round pick. Montgomery should enjoy running behind a strong Lions offensive line as opposed to what the Bears trotted out there.

WR/TE: The Lions lost WR DJ Chark to Carolina in free agency, which seems OK on the surface as that opens up an obvious spot in the lineup for WR Jamison Williams. But Williams doesn’t have Chark’s size, so the Lions could still look for a bigger outside receiver at some point. The Lions still have a large amount of cap space available (and could create more) if the right veteran is on the trade block, since trading receivers has been a common thing to do in recent years. Drafting a receiver fairly high is another possibility, but after picking Williams last year the optics of that might not be great. For now there are no changes at the tight end position so an upgrade in the draft is something they could look at.

K/DST: As expected, the Lions did not use their franchise tag. S Dashon Elliott signed with Miami, but the Lions did re-sign LB Alex Anzalone, something IDP league players could take note of. The Lions lost two corners in free agency, but signed two corners, and also added CJ Gardner Johnson, who has the versatility to fill many different roles in the secondary. A lot of mock drafts had the Lions taking a corner in round 1 and that could still happen. But the Lions knew the secondary was a unit that needed some renovations, and they took action. PK Michael Badgley re-signed, but I expect he will have competition, possibly from a late round draft pick.

Next month we will preview the draft and perhaps take a look at any significant moves in the second wave of free agency. The full draft order was officially released. The Lions received no compensatory picks. They have eight total picks - multiple picks in round 1, 2, and 6, but no pick in round 4 or 7.


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