A successful team is built on draft picks. The Lions, even with all their early picks this year, are still three years from fighting for a playoff spot. The draft is not the only way a team can improve its roster.
The NFL is not like the NBA or MLB where big names hit the market every year, but there are solid players available which can increase the competitiveness of the team.
There are several free agents I think the Lions should pursue this offseason. It will not be easy to convince free agents to come to Detroit, but it is the only way to speed up the rebuilding process.
I think the Lions' emphasis in free agency needs to be on defense. I believe defense starts on the line, and there are two potential free agents on the DL that would be huge upgrades for the Lions.
No. 1 on my list would be Julius Peppers. Peppers is still a dominant DE he would give the Lions the pass rush they have not had in years. Secondly, I would pursue Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth is a solid DT and would provide a replacement to Shaun Rogers.
The Lions' LBs have been underperforming this year. I would pursue one of the Baltimore free agent linebackers. Terrell Suggs or Bart Scott. I don't think Ray Lewis will leave Baltimore, plus I'm more in favor of signing younger players. Either Suggs or Scott would bring leadership and a skill set missing from the Lions' linebacking core. Karlos Dansby or Jonathan Vilma would also be an upgrade at MLB.
As for secondary players, I would focus on trying to sign Dunta Robinson or Chris Gamble. There are also three safeties I would look at. Oshiomogho Atogwe, Jermaine Phillips, or Sean Jones. These safeties would double the interceptions the Lions have had this year.
Obviously, the Lions will not be able to sign all of these players. They would be lucky to sign two or three of them. If they could only sign three, I would sign Peppers, Dansby, and Atogwe. I think those three players would elevate the Lions' defense.