The Lions made a great start to free agency early on Friday. Tom Lewand said that he and his men would be on the phone at midnight and it turns out he wasn't kidding.
Before the first half day of free agency was over the Lions made upgrades at two positions that have given them a hassle over the past couple seasons. They highly talented defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and a solid, but not great, receiver in Nate Burleson.
Vanden Bosch is an obvious upgrade over anything Detroit had on their defensive front. While it will be difficult for him to reproduce his 2007 season of 12 sacks, he will be the leader of a weak defensive line in Motown. He also represents a veteran presence to help whichever defensive end the team drafts next month.Whether its Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, or whoever, having a guy like Vanden Bosch around will help them turn into a more solid player faster.
Nate Burleson will likely take over the number two receiver spot on the team. Last season he caught 62 balls for 812 yards while playing for a weak Seattle team. He may not be the best option to take pressure of off Calvin Johnson, but he can at least do a better job than Bryant Johnson or Dennis Northcutt ever did.
The only question surrounding him will be his health. He missed almost all of 2008 with a knee injury and also sat out the final three games of last season. If he remains in the lineup, he can represent a serviceable threat at number two receiver.
The Lions have made a splash early in free agency but they still have a ton of work to do if they want to assemble a half way decent football team in Detroit this coming fall.
The release of Phillip Buchannon leads them even more short handed than they were, but his production made his release a necessity.
The Lions also need a left guard and any other offensive line upgrade they can find and a running back to fill the massive question marks since Kevin Smith went down.
Expect them to sign a corner sometime in free agency and draft another one in the second round. The running back and offensive line issues are best solved in the draft as well.
It was a good start for the Lions this year in free agency, let's see if they can keep it up and, most importantly, show some on field success.