Contribution By: Michael Pawlak
1. Jarius Byrd, Free Safety, age 27:
The Lions opted to part ways with Louis Delmas going into free agency in 2014. This move leaves a huge hole in the back 7 of their defense. Jarius Byrd would be the absolute home run addition if they want to spend some money here. Byrd has emerged as one of the elite safeties in the game and can play both FS and SS. At 27 years old, he is right in the prime of his career and could pair up with Glover Quin as one of the most destructive safety combinations in the NFL. I’ll Keep on dreaming here, Byrd will command top dollar.
2. Alterraun Verner, Cornerback, age 25:
Lets make no mistake about it, the Lions NEED a true #1 cornerback. This has been a gaping hole since I picked up the heroin needle that is Detroit Lions football 23 years ago. The Lions could try to get a potential lock down cornerback on draft day, with Justin Gilbert, and Darqueze Dennard likely to be on the board at 10. Verner is only 25. started since he came into the league for the Titans, and is coming off a Pro Bowl season. This would be a bold move by Mayhew, but what better place than here? What better time than now?
3. Aquib Talib, Cornerback, age 28:
Talib really prospered over the last 2 seasions with the Patriots. He is known to be a versatile player that can cover the slot or the outside. There are some red flags concerning his character. It took the New England Partiots to turn this talent into production on the field. Unfortunately the Lions aren’t the Patriots.The overall ability that he possesses is intriguing (Talib would immediately be the #1 CB here), but there is a lot of risk here.
4. Vontae Davis, Cornerback, age 25
Davis has 2 teams, and 5 years of starting experience on his resume. The knock on Davis is that he is inconsistent at times. There has never been a question as to whether he has the game to be a legitimate starter in the NFL. At only 25 years old Davis is only now entering his prime. I expect the Colts to pay the price to keep him there, but the Lions could be a serious player here.
5. Sam Shields, Cornerback, age 26
Sheilds is a cover corner with sub 4.40 40-yard dash. He has shown the ability to shut down special recievers such as Josh Gordon, and A.J Green in 2013. Sheilds (Green Bay Packers) is familiar with the NCF North and will likely come at a better price than Verner, Talib, or Davis. Once again he would walk in the door as the #1 CB on the roster.
6. T.J. Ward, Strong Safety, age 27
Ward is a strong safety in every sense of the word. He has a reputation to be one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league. He specializes in repelling the running game one crushing hit at a time out of the defensive secondary. Coverage skills need improvement, but Ward would be a huge upgrade. Ward eats pieces of shit like Don Carey for breakfast.
7. Golden Tate, Wide Receiver, age 25
Tate is an interesting option the Lions could look at as a solid #2 WR option. Tate has the ability to gain a lot of yards after the catch, and could thrive as a second option in a pass heavy offense. He won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, and finished the year with 65 receptions, 888 yards and 5 scores. This was by far his best career year and he is still young enough to make me believe his best production is still ahead of him. Wide reciever is also an area the Lions could look to address on draft day.
8. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver, age 26:
Before 2012 Nicks was on the verge of being one of the top 5 receivers in the game. Injuries and drops have plagued him, along with a disoriented Giants offense since 2012. These concerns could drive his price down and make Nicks a real value pick up for the right team. Nicks has shown the ability to be a #1 WR and at the right price, i think he’s worth rolling the dice on for the Lions.
9. James Jones, Wide Receiver, age 29:
Detroit Lions fans are all to familiar with James Jones as he has often given them problems on the outside playing for Green Bay. Jones is tough, sure handed, and has ability to explode after the catch. If Jones came at the right price, I think he would be a perfect fit on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson. Don’t be shocked (or upset) if the Lions fill their #2 WR void with Jones.
10. Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Reciever, age 26:
Sanders could also be a legit #2 option opposite of Johnson for the Lions. Sanders has a very similar skill set as Jones. He is more shifty than blazing fast, but has big play potential after the catch. Playing alongside a big time #1 WR is right where Sanders belongs, but may come at a higher price than Jones due to his age. Sanders would be the best WR#2 option the Lions would have fielded since the 2012 version of Nate Burleson.