Since the final game of the season, it has almost been certain that the Detroit Lions will either draft defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy. But could the Lions’ draft strategy change if former Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Julius Peppers signs with their NFC North rival?
It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions have major concerns with their offensive line and coach Jim Schwartz has made it clear that they will address this problem during the offseason. Whether they decide to address this problem via free agency or the draft, one thing is very evident: They will have to find someone that can block this five-time Pro Bowler.
During the 2008 regular season matchup between the Lions and Panthers, Peppers manhandled current left tackle Jeff Backus. Peppers' game stats included five total tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.
Their history against each other doesn’t stop there, though. In three other career matchups, Peppers has racked up an astounding 10 tackles, five sacks, and two forced fumbles.
So with that being said, could the Detroit Lions sway their favor from defensive tackles McCoy or Suh to left tackle prospect Russell Okung from Oklahoma State? I recently wrote an article about the possibility of Detroit selecting Okung, but the news breaking that Chicago Bears officials met with Peppers’ agent last weekend makes that idea all the more of a possibility.
The NFL’s free agency period begins this Friday when the clock strikes midnight. With Peppers being the biggest name in this year’s small market, don’t be surprised if he has a deal done by sunrise.
As a Lions fan, I hope I can wake up to the breaking news of Peppers signing anywhere besides Chicago, and I know Jeff Backus will be as well.