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A fairly large portion of Lions fandom was hoping they would draft a franchise left tackle in the first round this year.
It makes sense. Blind-side stalwart Jeff Backus had announced his retirement, and there were three tackles on the board projected to be elite talents in the NFL—Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson.
Of course, befitting of the bad luck that has plagued this franchise for years, all of them were off the board by the time the Lions selected.
So they understandably went in another direction, and the opportunity never presented itself for them to grab another one.
Needless to say, left tackle is a big need, but so is right tackle. Gosder Cherilus, a four-year starter, signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Lions currently have three tackles on their roster, and of the three, only Riley Reiff is remotely proven. Depth is needed badly. Evaluating what's left of the free-agent pool is a must.
The Lions don't have a lot of wiggle room as cap space goes, but the best of what's left would be Eric Winston or Bryant McKinnie.
Further down the list are players like Tyson Clabo and Jared Gaither.
Gaither is an intriguing player. He might be the most talented tackle on the market, and that's why the Chargers gave him a $24.6 million contract a year ago. However, according to Rotoworld, he essentially "quit" on them and only appeared in four games.
That led San Diego to bite the bullet, release him and take a $6 million cap hit.
No one is going to give him big money again, so perhaps the Lions could sign him to an incentive-laden contract and let him be a depth guy until he proves otherwise. Make him work for his money.
Whether it's Winston, Gaither or someone else, the Lions need to address their depth at tackle ASAP.