Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

NFL Draft preview: Lions look to add depth

The SportsXchange

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- For a team that had limited salary-cap space going into free agency, the Detroit Lions managed to get a fair amount done.

The big catch, no pun intended, was the signing of Seattle free-agent receiver Golden Tate. At long last the Lions feel they have a productive complementary receiver to play opposite Calvin Johnson.

After electing not to pursue safety Louis Delmas (who signed with Miami), the team effectively replaced him by signing former Raven James Ihedigbo, who is coming off his most productive season. Ihedigbo, being more of a box safety, will allow starter Glover Quin to play his more natural free safety position.

Just as important to general manager Martin Mayhew was the re-signing of several free agents from his own team -- tight end Brandon Pettigrew, running back Joique Bell and cornerback Rashean Mathis.

Among the players the Lions lost off the 2013 roster were backup quarterback Shaun Hill (Rams). They signed veteran Dan Orlovsky, who played for head coach Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis, to be the veteran backup to Matthew Stafford. The team is expected to add another through the draft.

Defensive end Willie Young signed with the Bears. The Lions signed a trio of veteran defensive ends -- Darryl Tapp, Kourtnei Brown and George Johnson -- to add depth behind second year ends Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor and veteran Jason Jones.

The Lions opted not to re-sign veteran receiver Nate Burleson (Browns), which leaves an opening in the slot. Tate could play there, though the initial plan was to have him play outside. Ryan Broyles is a candidate to play slot, too, but he is coming off Achilles surgery.

There is a good chance the Lions will look to the draft to add depth along the offensive line, at defensive tackle and at linebacker.

Veteran center Dominic Raiola was re-signed to a two-year deal, but he is 35 and his eventual replacement is not on the roster. In addition, left guard Rob Sims has been battling injuries all offseason. Expect the Lions to draft a guard-center before the third round.

At defensive tackle, the Lions opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on Nick Fairley's rookie deal and Ndamukong Suh is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The team signed veterans Vaughn Martin and Corvey Irvin, and brought back Andre Fluellen and C.J. Mosley.

New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin made it clear he wants to get the outside linebackers more involved in the pass rush, something the Lions didn't do under Gunther Cunningham. They don't have a pass-rushing outside linebacker on the roster, other than possibly little-used Tahir Whitehead.

The Lions are also trying to replace kicker David Akers, who was not re-signed. They signed two free agents -- John Potter, who kicked in three games for the Redskins last season, and Giorgio Tavecchio, who was cut by the Packers last summer.

They are expected to either draft a kicker in the late rounds or sign a free-agent rookie after the draft.

Instantly join a new league.

League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 29 9:00 am
View Comments (6)