Well it's been a very busy 4 days since free agency began for the Detroit Lions. I am very happy to see the Lions making the moves they are so early in the free agency. Going back to the article I wrote a couple weeks ago, I'm very pleased to see the Detroit Lions taking the drivers seat to move the team towards respectability in the future. With the additions of Kyle Vanden Bosh, Cory Williams, and now today news of Chris Huston, CB from the Atlanta Falcons being traded to Detroit for a swap in some late round picks. All of these are good things, especially the additions to the Defensive Line. Lets take a close look at this last trade for Detroit.
The addition of Chris Huston may be no better than the various free agent pick-ups the Lions had last year in the off season. Huston at least was drafted highly as the (42nd over all) 2nd round pick in 2007 out of Arkansas, but he never developed into the player Atlanta saw when they drafted him. So my concern here is that he's not as good as some other available players in free agency. A quote I read on an Atlanta sports blog this morning said that he while covered well, he never looked up for the ball to defend or intercept it. Having said that, I think Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew need to take a good look at Lito Sheppard who was just cut by the Jets. He's probably the most talented Corner available in Free Agency now that Cromartie was signed to replace him in NYC. Even though he was cut by the Jets for what they sited as a lack of production, the Jets defense was the number one rated Defense in the NFL last year and I'd rather have a guy cut by the best defense vs a guy cut from Atlanta who was 21nd in total defense. Sheppard is arguably better than Cromartie because he doesn't have the aversion to contact that Cromartie displays. However, having said that the addition of Chris Huston will probably work out well for two reasons, they didn't give up much to get him and IF they can coach him to look for the ball in coverage he might turn out to be the prospect that pundits saw when he was drafted 42nd overall in 2007. If he can't be coached to look for the ball though, Henry will only confirm his status as a draft BUST. Lets just hope Mayhew and Schwartz still have a trick or two up their sleeve before all the best free agency prospects have been picked through and signed. Assuming they're not happy with any other corner prospects on the Free Agent Market, they will be forced with drafting a corner or two, or adding more mediocre talent in August/September like they were forced to last year.
There is one good news for the secondary in Detroit, they have taken the same aggressive approach to building the D-Line this year that they took to the Linebackers last year. The additions of Kyle Vanden Bosh, and Cory Williams will make huge impacts on the Defense, especially the secondary. I have read some articles that seem to imply that Williams will be playing DE because thats what he was playing in Cleveland, but I have no doubts that Cunningham is planning to line Williams up in the middle next to Suh/McCoy (who ever they draft) or last years stout rookie Sammie Lee Hill. Vanden Bosh will be lined up on the outside opposite Clif Avril and Jason Hunter who will no doubt rotate through out the season at both end positions. The Lions should finally be able to get pressure on QB's with the probable group of guys they will have on the D-Line in 2010. This is very good news to the defensive backfield in Detroit, we may actually see the Lions start to accumulate interceptions if they finally establish a pass rush this year. Barring any type of Trades for Turk McBride, I'd say the Lions Defensive line looks better now than it has in a long time. If I've left anything out please comment on who else may be available for trade or free market availability. For now I'm happy just dreaming about the lions starting 4 being:
Jason Hunter (DE), Cory Williams (DT), Suh/McCoy (DT), Kyle Vanden Bosh (DE)
But if Cunningham/Schwartz want to swap out Jason Hunter for Turk McBride, I'd be happy with that too. I just don't see that happening since they gave Jason Hunter the big tender, it looks like they plan to use him a lot in 2010. I bet these recent changes translate into at least 2 more wins this year just from being able to hold teams to lower scores. If they go out and sign Lito Sheppard and/or a stud in the draft, or BOTH Lito Sheppard and a stud corner in the draft the Lions Defense could actually crack the top 12 after finishing last season dead last. Unlikely? Maybe, but hey I have to dream, I'm a Lions fan.