Detroit Lions Most Under and Overrated Offseason Additions
This offseason has been one of massive change for the Detroit Lions as key personnel, veteran leaders and consistent performers are gone. In their place are more than a few new faces who the Lions hope will make them a better team.
Some of these additions were more celebrated than others, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be more successful; big-name signings don't automatically translate into more wins, no matter how pumped up the fanbase gets.
The Lions made a few moves that turned some heads and look good on paper. However there's no sure things in the NFL.
With that in mind, here are the Lions most underrated and overrated offseason additions.
Underrated: Montell Owens
The Lions signing of Montell Owens in May was a small blip on the excite-o-meter.
After all he's a career backup who's rushed for only 292 yards and scored three touchdowns in eight years in the NFL.
Besides, didn't the Lions have enough running backs?
It's true, the Lions have depth at running back but that's not why they signed him. Detroit fans certainly haven't forgotten the utter collapse of their special teams last season. It was embarrassing.
Owens will help insure that it doesn't happen again. He became a two-time Pro Bowler on special teams while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he'll instantly upgrade the Lions unit.
He'll even provide depth at running back, as he did last season for the Jags when Maurice Jones-Drew was injured. Starting four games, Owens racked up 209 yards rushing, 113 yards receiving and a touchdown.
He's versatile, hard working and the type of under-the-radar player who makes bad teams good and good teams great.
The Lions are lucky to have him.
Underrated: Corey Greenwood
Like Montell Owens, Corey Greenwood was an unheralded signing.
Although he shouldn't have been.
As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, he played in all 48 games over the past three seasons, primarily as a special-teams ace. That means he has the potential to have a huge impact on Detroit.
Again, like Owens he could help solidify a shaky special teams unit that seriously needs an upgrade.
Greenwood isn't your run-of-the-mill special teamer—or at least he didn't have the typical path a player takes to get to the NFL. According to Chris McCosky of detroitnews.com, Greenwood was the 2009 national defensive player of the year while playing for Concordia University in Montreal. And he was the third-overall pick of the Toronto Argonauts in the 2010 CFL draft.
The Canadian-born linebacker could have been a hero and big-time star in Toronto. Instead he turned down that golden opportunity to become a no-namer in the NFL.
Best of all, he has no regrets and plays his heart out each and every down.
He'll win a roster spot and become a special-teams stalwart for the Lions.
Overrated: Israel Idonije
Make no mistake about it, signing Israel Idonije was a good move for the Lions and one that instantly improved their defense.
He's a veteran, a solid teammate and a reliable performer.
However, the reaction to the signing among Lion fans and certain media personalities was a bit over the top.
It's not like they inked J.J. Watt or Aldon Smith.
Idonije will prove to be a nice addition. He'll add veteran depth to the defensive line and perhaps teach the Lions' young pass-rushing duo of Ezekiel Ansah and Devin Taylor a thing or two.
He's not going to be a game-changer, though; and he won't repeat last year's total of 7.5 sacks as a member of the Chicago Bears.
The Lions made a nice move in signing him, but let's keep it in perspective.
Underrated: David Akers
The biggest thing with Akers is his health. If he cannot return from the groin injury that impacted his kicking last season, than this signing will be null and void.
However, if healthy he will more than make up for the loss of Jason Hanson.
Many fans have fallen in love with Havard Rugland, the YouTube phenom who can kick a football a mile and is accurate to boot. Akers didn't become a six-time Pro Bowler making viral videos in his back yard, though. He's proven to be an elite kicker when it counts, and no one should over look that.
Akers is 38 years old, but in terms of kickers, he's still got quality years left. Hanson was well into his 40s when he retired.
Akers had one bad year with the 49ers in 2012, and there was a documented injury to account for it. But 2011 was arguably the best of his 15-year career.
Rugland could possibly be the kicker of the future for the Lions if they decide to stash him on their practice squad, but in 2013 Akers is the answer to their kicking quandary.
If he's healthy, of course.
Overrated: Chris Hope
Last June, the Lions signed veteran safety Sean Jones to compete for the starting job, and to provide depth to a position that had been depleted due to injury the previous year.
Jones didn't even make the roster, and the Lions injury problems at safety continued.
So, now it's time for Round 2. The Lions signed veteran safety Chris Hope earlier this month to provide depth in case Louis Delmas isn't ready to return by Week 1.
Hope is a one-time Pro Bowler, but he's 32 years old. He's not only on the downside of his career, he's careening towards the bottom.
The last two seasons have been the worst of his career—at least since his rookie year.
It's looking more and more likely that Delmas will be ready to play by the start of training camp, according to ESPN. Plus, the Lions have more depth at the position than they've had in years: Glover Quin, Don Carey and Ricardo Silva are younger and more valuable than Hope is at this point in his career.
He's a long shot to make the roster and nothing more than a worst-case scenario signing.
Underrated: Glover Quin
It's not that the Glover Quin signing wasn't celebrated, it was. It was applauded by fans and media types alike because adding depth to the secondary was a huge need.
Year after year the Lions lost their best performers in the secondary to injury, and year after year they were forced to replace them with has-beens and never-weres.
No more. Quin is a proven performer and was the best safety on the market. To heck with depth, the Lions went out and got a starter.
The impact of signing Quin can't be overstated. Louis Delmas is hurt again, and when he heals he will get hurt again at some point. You know it will happen.
Quin makes that reality less painful.
Delmas and Spievey could miss 16 games combined, and the Lions know they'll have one elite guy at the position. If everyone's healthy, then it's all gravy.
Quin and Delmas are two top-notch cover safeties, and that will allow the Lions to play a more aggressive defensive style—something Gunther Cunningham is probably salivating over.
Given what's happened the last few years, Quin will prove to be a difference-maker in more ways than one.
He gives the Lions something they haven't had in a long time: peace of mind.
Underrated: Ezekiel Ansah
Since the Lions drafted Ezekiel Ansah with the fifth-overall pick in the draft, the word "bust" has been thrown around more than once.
Given Ansah's background and lack of football experience, it's not surprising that some observers are skeptical that he'll be an impact player
However, Ansah will not be a bust. As he's proven during Lions' OTAs, he's too smart for that. He's picked up the playbook with relative ease, and he has "natural instincts", according to Gunther Cunningham, (via MLive.com).
That's not to say that Ansah is going to be Jason Pierre-Paul from day one. No one in Detroit is predicting that and fans have tempered their expectations. With that said, he is ahead of schedule in his development and appears to have his head on straight, which is more than can be said for many first-round picks.
Keep in mind that he'll be replacing Kyle Vanden Bosch, who contributed little to the Lions defense last year (28 tackles, 3.5 sacks). Ansah will do much better than that, particularly with his ability to chase down rushers. He'll also bat down a ton of balls with his massive wingspan.
So while it's smart to temper expectations, don't sell Ansah short. He'll prove the Lions right for drafting him as high as they did, and he'll be a pleasant surprise to everyone.
Overrated: Reggie Bush
People will read this slide and think that I'm bashing Reggie Bush, and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Signing Bush was a great move; arguably the best of the offseason for the Lions. He's an upgrade over Mikel Leshoure and will impact the Lions offense with his explosiveness and versatility and their special teams with his return ability.
However, I'm not sold that he's going to have the impact that everyone's banking on him having.
Keep in mind, when he played for the New Orleans Saints he wasn't their featured back and was oft-injured. With the Dolphins his stats were impressive, but look at their record during his time there: 6-10 and 7-9.
Stats don't mean anything if the team's not winning.
He will make the Lions a better, more dangerous offense, but they'll return to the playoffs if Matthew Stafford plays better and the defense can stop someone once in awhile.
Bush is a great addition but not the savior of Lions football.