Detroit Lions Team Needs 2019

I encourage you all to examine team needs as you see them and then maybe rank them most desperate to least desperate.
Offensively, I see severe need at two positions. TE and WR
The case for TE has already been made by Quinn himself. Luke Wilson was a whiff, Toilolo can block, but he is a free agent, and Roberts is not yet even a consistent low end TE 3. Bottom 5 unit in the NFL.
The case for WR, well we have Golladay, whatever M. Jones has left coming off a knee injury and nobody else. Ellington and TJ Tones are free agents. Nobody else from Powell ro Andy Jones who has even wet their toes to test NFL waters. That receiving corps and the holes at TE is the reason Stafford’s production went to shit. That means bottom 5 at WR, too.
Tack on the loss of Kerryon Johnson and the LeGarrette Blount flop and our rushing game was shit, too.
I’d give RB a major shove in this discussion, too. We have Kerryon and nothing. Zenner and Riddick are nothing as every down backs, Blount is through and Kerryon is coming back from an injury.
There is one last position and that is back-up QB.
So four needs absolutely have to be met on offense alone. I absolutely believe we will get one of each of those in FA but with the possible exception of a Mark Ingram, Jesse James and DeSean Jackson all signing here all those needs will still be foremost gping into the draft.

On defense,
DE, CB and LB are all impending holes. We have no edge rushers capable of playing DE. Our LB’ers are in my opinion, bottom 5. Lawson is a free agent, At Corner, we have Slay and nobody else.
CB, DE and LB’er, then, on defense.

Dire need at WR, TE, Edge and CB.
Urgent need at RB.
Must replace Reserve QB
And, at least one LB’er who can cover an NFL player.

Lang has spent nearly half his Detroit career on IR and has been concussed at least 5 times now.
Right Guard might be our biggest need!
As far as backup QB? Connor Cook is better than Cousins. I don’t know what happened in Oakland, but, he’ll be the backup and possibly, the future.

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TE1 - we need to replace Willson with a legit starter
WR3 - we need to replace Tate
RB2 - we need to replace Blount
WR4 - we need to replace T.J. Jones
TE2 - resign Toilolo as blocking TE
RB3 - resign Zenner, he has earned it
OT4 - we need depth behind Crosby


DE1 - we need to replace Ansah
DE2 - we need another legit starter opposite Ansah’s replacement
CB2 - we need another legit starter opposite Slay
FS1 - is Walker ready to be a starter? If so then move this down a little bit and change it to FS2.
DE4 - resign Okawa, excellent depth with Hand and Okawa
CB4 - we need to replace Shead and Tabor will likely never be the answer
SLB2 - resign Harold, we need depth behind Kennard
MLB2 - we need depth behind Davis
DT4 - resign RJF, excellent experience and willingness to help his teammates get better
FS3 - resign Washington, more of a special teams move

Players that should be cut ($21 million total cap savings) which will need replacing…

RG1 - release Lang and enjoy the $8,843,750 cap savings
CB3 - release Lawson and enjoy the $4,125,000 cap savings
WLB1 - release Jones and enjoy the $3,000,000 cap savings
SS2 - release Wilson and enjoy the $2,903,125 cap savings
OG3 - release Wiggins and enjoy the $2,750,000 cap savings


EXCELLENT stuff, @thanson!


I have a very hard time believing after cutting Quin that they would let a very solid Wilson go over 3m.

Ditto Lawson. Upgrade the CB2 spot and flip Lawson to nickel. 2 position uogrades for the price of 1.

Like the rest. Jones may stay though…depends how FA/draft works out

That’s where I’m at. You’re not saving money by cutting them, you’re only freeing up a roster spot. Well, when Lawson and Wilson are like the 54th and 55th best players on our roster, I’ll start looking at them as cut-worthy.

FS/SS Walker/Wilson is where we stand at Safety. There may be a position switch in line for Tabor who continues to struggle. So, an upgrade is imminent here as well. Diggs is another candidate for safety. They have to take either a free agent or draft one but I think they go free agent here. If these defections to safety (or even release in Tabor’s case) occur, the need at CB intensifies actually doubles and again indicates FA and draft additions.

OG, is another area. The Lions have been grooming Crosby to replace someone. He is capable at both OG/OT. Joe Dahl has not worked out and was inactive more often than not. Lang is capable when he is not injured but has not been available for half the games the last two years. The Lions have cleared room on the cap and could save almost nine million more releasing Lang. They might move on from Wiggins, too. That’s a lot of turnover. There are guards available in FA. While I think the Lions move on from all three of these guys, they could retain one of them leaving them thin at either Tackle or Guard. I feel they also bring in a depth guy from free agency and draft another. Saving grace here is if they retain Lang at a decent number all five starters return and Crosby is still there in reserve.

TE1 even if they re-sign Toilolo, they are in dire straits. Willson has however worked in Bevell’s offense and more successfully than in Cooter’s.
RB2 Zenner has been polarizing, Riddick is not a bargain. Neither is capable of carrying on if Johnson goes down.
OG/OT my thought is they need two depth guys, one each of OT/OG. Lang is good if he can play. Crosby can back up. If Lang leaves, or is released, the need is more acute.
QB2 If they are prepared to go with Cook, that is at least understandable, maybe a career back-up in addition. Patriots carry a back-up and a developmental guy, we’ll see.
From this list we need one starter and a lot of depth, but some of those are key positions WR3 and RB2

FS/SS With Quin gone they are prepared to enter the season withWilson/Walker with depth from Diggs/Tabor. I think not. A veteran signing is in the future.
We need a starter. We need a CB4 as well, slot and back up. Biggest need in my opinion x 2.
DE Hyder may be through, Ansah is not coming back, we will re-sign Okwara. DE is another hole in this defense and we need a starter, here, too.
LB’er We need a guy who can cover, we don’t have one

We could fill almost every position in FA.
I feel we could go a long way by signing a safety, Mark Ingram at RB, Trey Flowers at DE, Jesse James at TE and depth on the OL. I would love to see Emmanuel Sanders get released and we sign him. That would give us Flowers, Ingram and Sanders as potential “playmakers” and depending on who we sign at safety maybe another one. Two each for offense and defense. 12-13 million for Flowers, 5 million for Ingram and a couple for James. If we release Lang we would have close to50 million. Room to finagle a Sanders and a safety into that equation.

Lawson is not a FA. He is signed for 2019.

You are correct, I’ll amend this.

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Why is Zenner “polarizing”? I do not understand the lack of love?
I posted the numbers a month ago, and seeing, should be believing. He has the 4th highest yards per carry in the League for 2018.
Does the Backup have to equal Johnson in production? He’d be the most productive RB on 28 teams in the league!
I see folks clammering for Ingram (4.7 ypc) and discounting Zenner (4.8 ypc). Wtf!

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First off, I don’t have “love” for any man. I know that is not your orientation. The coaches pretty much abandoned the run game after Kerryon went down. Oh, they tried but Zenner, Blount and Riddick clearly can’t handle the job. You might want him to be the RB2 but he is not an RB2 in my opinion. Zenner, that is. And, Riddick is no longer suitable at his current salary to be a part time, third down back. Blount is through. That leaves, if you are generous, Zenner as a 3rd string back incapable of being a change of pace back or taking over the number one job. We need an RB2 much like the systems at New Orleans and Philly where multiple backs are employed.

Oh, and he is polarizing because there are fans like you who do not see him as what he is and there are fans like me who are in no way bewildered and see a career back-up. The very definition of polarizing. You can disagree with my opinion but the fact fans are divided into two differing and completely opposing positions shows he is polarizing as I stated.

I see Zenner as a good, hard nosed, change of pace back who runs well behind the tackles.

And despite the assumption he is a throw away player he produces

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Do you honestly see him as a true platoon type back who can be a starter if KJ gets hurt? I say no. If he is not good enough to do that then he’s not a number two. He’s good enough to fill a roster spot and that is why we carry him, but he us not the answer. That does not say anything bad about him. He makes an NFL roster because he plays special teams, he’s tough, he’s a pro… i think our RB room should be full of a two back system like NO. Kamara/Ingram.
I fully expect them to take another back who can hit a home run. Maybe Darrell Henderson…or get Ingram or Tevin Coleman.

I do see him as a solid platoon player. He ended the season being more effective than Blount with 4.8 YPC and a solid special teams contributor

But he is nearly 28 when running backs start to decline and I bet he gets some FA offers. I’d love to have him back but don’t want to overpay

Not for me, big thanks but no thanks. That is, for RB2. He is a fine end of the roster type guy. And, I think Quinn agrees as he has already stated we need some play makers on both sides of the ball.

Yoop, he’s been doing exactly that!
And never better, as a matter of fact.

Zenner is RB4.
If he’s higher than that, Quinn has failed at GM.
If he’s lower than that, Quinn will have had a really good offseason.

You know, I look at our team and I ask, what can we do to upgrade a position. Start with say QB. What can I reasonably do to upgrade this position. I look around the league at FA, possible trades and our draft positions. Maybe ten are better than Matt and getting any of them is next to impossible. No draft bonanza I believe will make us better unless I want Murray and he falls to us and then I can trade Stafford and build for the future. But since I want to compete this year, it is not a position I can upgrade unless everything falls correctly and some team might offer a great deal to be able to draft Murray and I would have to consider that.
Since, I cannot upgrade QB1, can I upgrade QB2. Well, Connor Cook has been brought in. I value QB as a position, so if I get a chance to bring in a developmental guy, I will. But I shut it down at QB. I see little chance to upgrade my current situation, so I watch the waiver wire, work the combine and maybe target a guy I like 4th round on.

I move on then to RB. Same process, Leveon Bell is available, he has a connection to the state, maybe I have a shot but I find, for whatever reason, I do not want to pay 16M for a 29 year old RB or his agent has told me he is never coming to Detroit.The other options are Coleman and Ingram who are definitely better than Zenner and Riddick. I decide Ingram is better than Blount, Zenner and Riddick. I have determined in my mind Riddick is not worth his salary and Zenner is not an RB2. My options are to make offers to both FA targets I like, to re-negotiate a friendlier contract and ride with Riddick if we can reach an accord, or cut Riddick, draft a potential replacement and save a couple three million. To me signing a free agent, canning Riddick and drafting a guy with promise is my best route. If I cannot get Ingram, I bump up my draft targets to get that guy, (maybe Singletary or Harris) This year, I have determined that cleaning out the RB room is a good thing. Blount, gone, Riddick gone (salary saved), Zenner bubble. If I get Ingram, I am all set for three years (barring catastrophic injury). I have two top backs. I want some explosiveness back there, so I target a couple guys in the draft like Tony Pollard or another guy and grab one to help out. My depth chart now reads Johnson, Ingram, explosive rookie, Zenner. I feel I have upgraded RB2 and RB3. That is what I have done at RB. If I am unsuccessful with Ingram maybe I up the draft capital ante and go after a difference maker early. Then, I have to work out how that fits with my other positions.

I know it is long, I just wanted to reveal my process somewhat. The only question for me is, is my solution doable, and is it better than Johnson, Riddick, Zenner, Rookie? And, my solution Johnson, Ingram, rookie, Zenner + the cap savings from Riddick is better than I started with by a long shot. My investment total is whatever we pay Ingram - what I saved on Riddick + a draft pick. I upgraded two positions or my RB group as a whole. I value Zenner but not as an RB2

Working further down the roster, WR and TE. For what we have to pay I spot three or four FA I like. I consider AB but don’t want the headaches involved. Humphries and Brown are reasonable to me but become over-priced in the bidding. I work the scouts, I understand the best value is the draft and maybe consider trading for a Michael Crabtree. I have MJ and KG. Upgrading one or two would be cost prohibitive. WR3/4 investments are too expensive, I look for draft targets and this is a great year. Like I said maybe we offer a player or a draft pick for Crabtree or sign a tweener like T Williams from San Diego and a guy like Pollard listed as a RB/WR. Again, my investment is whatever I trade for Crabtree and a draft pick. If I am unsuccessful in FA or the trade market, I have to up my draft capital investment to maybe a different round.

Moving to TE. I hate all of the free agent guys. Maybe could get by with James as a FA, or Eiffert, resigning Toilolo, riding with Roberts and drafting a TE like Sternberger. That is viable to me. James and Sternberger are upgrades to the worst TE group in the NFL. Minimum investment of James contract and a draft pick. Maybe I can work a trade like Wagner for Cameron Brate. Either way,
James/Eiffert, Toilolo, Roberts, Sternberger is better than last year and so is Brate, Toilolo, Roberts, Sternberger.

8: R1P8
43: R2P11
88: R3P24
111: R4P9
146: R5P8
184: R6P11
204: R6P31
224: R7P10
229: R7P15

So for the draft, I pick up Quinnen Williams who I could not pass up, Singletary and fill RB2 and TE behind Brate or James, two CB, adevelopmental QB and three WR types. Now, I don’t have my list handy but if I can sign Flowers, Mosley, Ingram and James I get better everywhere. Missing maybe a starting CB and safety depth.