NFL Free Agents 2011: 5 Players That Could Return the Lions to Legitimacy

Alexander YoungbloodContributor IIIMay 29, 2011

NFL Free Agents 2011: 5 Players That Could Return the Lions to Legitimacy

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks for receiver against the Chicago Bears during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 19-14. (Photo by Jon
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Lions have been plagued with bad luck for a couple of years now.  The past two seasons have seen their young star prospect Matthew Stafford sitting on the bench with injuries.

    Despite that, the Lions are on the cusp of being a great team with a lot of young talent and weapons.

    The main areas of concern with the Lions are at the linebacker and cornerback position.

    Whenever they are actually able to sign players they should look towards these key free agents in those positions they should look to in 2011.

Carlos Rogers: Cornerback

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    LANDOVER - SEPTEMBER 19:  Carlos Rogers #22 of the Washington Redskins defends against the Houston Texans at FedExField on September 19, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Texans defeated the Redskins in overtime 30-27. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Carlos Rogers is a prototypical corner who could fit nicely in the Detroit Lions scheme.

    He has made it abundantly clear that he will not be in a Redskins uniform this coming season

    A good cover corner who gets in great position and could help relieve some of the pressure in the struggling backfield.

    He has room for improvement in a few areas, namely that he has terrible hands.  If he could have some improvement in this area then his interceptions should improve just because of his ability to get into position.

Johnathan Joseph: Cornerback

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    CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Johnathan Joseph #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass intended for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    A high octane corner who could be a perfect physical fit for the Lions.

    Coming off a decent season with the Bengals with three interceptions, he has been a fairly consistent player throughout his career.

    In 2009, he went for six interceptions with 58 Tackles and there is no reason why he couldn't put up those same numbers for the Lions.

    The fairly physical corner would be able to do well in the Lion's press-man style and be able to contribute to stopping the run as well.

    Leaving the volatile Bengals organization and moving to the Lions would be a great move for Joseph.

Nnamdi Asomugha: Cornerback

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    OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    If the Lions could somehow land Nnamdi Asomugha, their defense would take an immediate step up.

    Nnamdi is a complete shutdown corner who would most likely blackout an entire side of the field.

    His stats from the from the past few season showing only one interception or less are reflective of his reputation because quarterbacks simply don't throw to the receiver he is playing.

    Although it would be a long stretch for the Lions to land Nnamdi, they should still definitely pursue him as he is the top cornerback in this free agent class.

Thomas Howard: Linebacker

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Thomas Howard #53 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after a play against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 18, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Gett
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Thomas Howard is one of the fastest linebackers in the league.

    His speed would be beneficial for outside or straight on blitzes while Fairley and Suh tie up the offensive line of the other team.

    He is also able to keep up with many of the leagues receivers and would be beneficial to the Lions struggling pass defense.  

    With Howard, the Lions would sacrifice some run defense, as Howard is average at best at defending the run.  

    With the way the team is set up though, he might be a perfect compliment for their defense.

Rocky McIntosh: Linebacker

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    LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15: Rocky McIntosh #52 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after sacking Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles on November 15, 2010 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    McIntosh has been one of the anchors of the Redskins defense for years.  

    Despite all the turmoil with the Redskins this past year, he was still able to get 110 tackles with a couple of sacks to go along with it and his numbers have been fairly consistent with that in years past.

    He would be a big boost to the linebacker core and should be one of the top targets for the Lions.  

    A great run blocker and overall player, he would fit perfect with the physical style of the Lions 4-3 defense.