The Detroit Lions have already put together a great free agency in which they have not broken the bank but still added impact players in positions of need. Nevertheless, free agency is not yet over and the Lions still have a few positions of need.
Most of the starters have already been snapped up by other teams. However, there is still one under the radar free safety who could be a valuable asset starting for the Detroit Lions and that is Brodney Pool.
Pool started he career in Cleveland after he was picked by them in the second-round of the 2005 NFL Draft. However, last year he moved to the New York Jets, where he lost the favour of the coaches because his style of play did not suit the run supporting, blitz heavy role that Rex Ryan demands from his safeties.
This has lead to him hitting the free market and because of his low profile he has not made that much of a splash. While other free safeties like Eric Weddle, Danieal Manning and Michael Huff have all been locked up to long term deals, Pool has yet to attract much interest. This should not be the case.
While Pool may be poor as an in the box safety, he has shown great promise as a deep safety performing a coverage heavy role. In his six seasons he has shown that he has the awareness and closing speed to get in good position to react to the ball and make plays. His 11 interceptions in five seasons with the Browns are evidence of this. He has also been solid when asked to make tackles in space and he does not miss very many tackles when he is acting as the last line of defense.
The Lions would benefit a lot from his presence. Both projected Free Safety starters for 2011 are better suited playing closer to the line because they are not great in coverage at the moment (Louis Delmas should become better soon). This means that Pool would fit a valuable niche in the roster.
Secondly, having a good coverage safety would take more pressure off the cornerback group. Pool would allow the cornerbacks to play more aggressive coverage which could lead to more interceptions and less completions.
Finally, with the addition to the linebacker corps of Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch, two elite defenders against the run and the shift of DeAndre Levy from middle linebacker where he was a poor run defender to outside linebacker where he should be an average one the Lions would not have to rely on Pool to defend the run.
For those of you who have read my recent articles, you will know that I firmly believe that the Lions should sign a coverage free safety. First it was Michael Huff and then Danieal Manning. However, with both of them gone the next best option is Brodney Pool. Fortunately, he is still a good starter.
The Lions have in place a very promising defense full of young players. The addition of a 27-year old coverage safety could be the icing on the cake for this budding team and set them up well for years to come. Here's hoping Pool is pulling on the Honolulu blue come September.