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Detroit Lions: Definitive Offseason Shopping List

Dean HoldenAnalyst IFebruary 9, 2012

Detroit Lions: Definitive Offseason Shopping List

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    Martin, Jim, it's getting to be about that time again.

    I know money has been tight lately, but it's time to go shopping for next year. The stuff you got last year was good—it even lasted us a week longer than usual—but you only got enough Stephen Tulloch and Eric Wright for one year, and now we have to go out and buy more.

    We're fresh out of Jeff Backus, and our Matthew Stafford supply is going to run out quick if we don't replace it. We're also going to need more Cliff Avril, and you know how expensive that's going to be.

    Now, there are a couple of places you could go to pick up this stuff.

    You could wait and get everything brand new at the draft, but they're only open once a year and they have limitations on how much you can buy. You won't be able to get everything we need there.

    Everything else you'll have to buy secondhand in free agency. And I know it's weird, but this is a business where the used goods fetch a higher price than the new ones. Of course, that's mostly due to some new market regulations—it wasn't always that way.

    You also—you know what? Would it be easier if I just made you a shopping list and told you where to shop? Okay, let's do that.

Cornerbacks

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    You can pick one of these up in either the draft or free agency, wherever you find the better value.

    Jim, I know you've used Cortland Finnegan before, and it seems to be a quality brand, but there are lots of reports that the high performance comes with occasional malfunctions, and we had some issues with that last year (remember when Ndamukong Suh blew a gasket?).

    I don't mind if you want to pick up a couple years' worth of Finnegan, but you're the guy who has to fix this stuff when it starts acting up.

    As long as you're ready for that, go for it. Otherwise, you might just consider picking up a new one from the draft.

    The new Janoris Jenkins model is supposed to be a solid choice, but I hear it has a tendency to produce fumes.

Offensive Linemen

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    It wasn't as bad as we first thought, but we did suffer quite a bit of flood damage last year from some of the leakier offensive line pieces.

    I wouldn't do much shopping here in free agency, unless you're thinking about picking up a little more Jeff Backus (but make sure you get it on sale).

    Used offensive linemen are usually too expensive, and they just don't have the same shelf life that the new ones do.

    The last thing we need is to buy five years' worth of Ben Grubbs, and have it only last three before it gets stale.

    The offensive line did a good job of holding the floodgates last year, but they weren't really able to turn the tide back. If you're going to go shopping at the draft for somebody, I don't really care which kind you buy.

    We have enough Rob Sims and Gosder Cherilus to last us a little while longer, but I wouldn't say no to upgrades anywhere else.

    But no more of this generic brand stuff. I've never even heard of Johnny Culbreath, and all we did is stash it under the sink when you bought it off the draft bargain shelf last year.

    If you're going to get new pieces, make sure you get one of those shiny new Peter Konz or Mike Adams ones. You know, the expensive, quality-built ones from the Midwest.

Linebackers

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    I gotta tell you guys, that Stephen Tulloch you picked up last year was awesome.

    I still can't believe you got there in time, before somebody else bought it all up.

    But you only got a year's supply of it, so I have to ask: Is there any way you could buy us some more of that?

    I mean, if it comes down to it, we could just dig into our Bobby Carpenter supply, but—well, it's just not the same, you know? I mean, DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant are already kind of bland as it is, Tulloch was the only thing giving them all some flavor.

    I know you got that Doug Hogue kit last year, but who knows how long it'll take to put it together? We don't even know if it'll work right after all the work we put into it.

    If it comes right down to it, we probably have enough of a linebacker supply to last us another year, but we'd be cutting it close, and it wouldn't exactly be high quality.

    Maybe you could grab another do-it-yourself kit just before the draft closes and ship it off to your coaches? I hear James Michael Johnson is supposed to be pretty good.

Running Backs

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    Don't give me that look, Jim. We wouldn't need to buy more running backs if you'd stop breaking them.

    Yeah, I know, it wasn't your fault, right?

    Well, who was the one who kept trying to force the running backs between offensive linemen last year, when you knew there wasn't enough space for them to fit?

    You weren't trying to force a square peg in a round hole, you were trying to force a straw through a brick wall. You're going to break a lot of straws that way.

    I'm willing to accept that breaking Mikel Leshoure was a fluke. I mean, you were still just testing it out when it broke, and it's not like we could have asked for a refund. If it works this year, it'll be like nothing ever happened.

    But Jahvid Best? You got Best on the discount rack at the draft because it was already broken. You said it would work just fine, and you've been trying to use it anyway, and it keeps breaking worse and worse.

    At some point you're going to have to give it a break before it burns up completely.

    And you know how running backs are. You use them for a few years, they break, and they're never the same again. You have to get the new ones if you want them to work right.

    If you're going to get any running backs in free agency, make sure you get the discount ones, so we won't be out much money if they break, too.

    I know you've spent a lot on running backs at the draft lately, but those ones keep breaking, too. Doug Martin is supposed to be a pretty dependable option, maybe go with that.

    Otherwise, you're going to have to go back out to the trash heap and dust off Kevin Smith again.

Defensive Linemen

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    Like I mentioned before, we're out of our supply of Cliff Avril.

    Most everything Matt Millen bought for us before we threw him out went bad really quickly, and I know your disposition to this point has been to replace Millen's expired products, not go out and buy more.

    You might consider tweaking that philosophy a little bit here.

    Avril has been good, and everybody's kind of used to having it around. I know the price has gone way up, but it just might be worth it if we can find enough spare change to buy some more.

    A lot more.

    I know you've spent an awful lot of money on defensive tackles recently, and aside from some maintenance issues with Nick Fairley and a couple of malfunctions with Ndamukong Suh last year, it's all been really good. But Corey Williams, our old reliable, is just about used up.

    Everyone here loves using Williams, but there's a good chance of it being discontinued soon, and it might not hurt to be prepared for that. I'm not saying you have to spend a lot of money or grab one off the top shelf at the draft like you have been, but maybe one of those bargain-shelf ones could work.

    If nothing else, you could join in looking around in the draft's unsold trash pile after it's all over.

Safeties

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    Unfortunately, our safeties aren't all that safe, which kind of defeats the purpose.

    It's definitely too early to think about giving up on either of the new safeties you've brought in.

    We have enough of each them for a while longer, and you know it always takes a couple of years to break in those new defensive pieces.

    Still, I don't think anybody would complain if maybe we had a replacement part on hand.

    I mean, I don't think we've ever used Louis Delmas without it cracking, and Amari Spievey only seems to work right half the time. All the spare parts we had last year basically broke the moment we used them, and we ended up picking up Chris Harris from the Bears' dumpster out back.

    Frankly, guys, I don't care what you buy or where—draft, free agency, whatever. As long as the price is right and it's safe enough to keep the Saints from marching in again, it'll work.

Quarterbacks

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    If all goes as planned, this won't even matter.

    We've got enough Matthew Stafford to last us a long time, and it's pretty much awesome.

    As long as our offensive line keeps it from breaking all the time like it was before, that is.

    You already have that part of the list, though.

    Still, just in case, you'll want to pick up a backup part or two. If you want to just go out and get more Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton, I'd be fine with that.

    Otherwise, maybe you can look around for some new-looking salvageable quarterbacks sitting around. If we can fix one of them up, they actually sell for pretty good money on the open market.

    It might not hurt for us to get into that business, since we're ready to use Stafford and only Stafford for as long as it physically works.

    Hey, remember when we tried that sample of Zac Robinson? That wasn't all bad, if you want to pick up about a year's supply. But then, you're the one with the eye for a great bargain, so I'll trust your judgement on this one.

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