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2012 Offseason thread

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Taking a page from Yoda's Tiger thread. Here could be a spot to discuss our Lion's needs/ wish lists. Coaches probably good. Offense: running game examination. Last but most important our 2ndary and need a other linebacker. Tulloch?

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The Lions still have Best, LeShoure and Fairley who all missed significant time. Houston was pretty good. I don't recall the Saints throwing towards Houston very much. DE, LB, CB, S would all be high on my draft board. Also consider a Guard in the first round.

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Back seven on defense is high on my list. Some elements of the offensive line are getting old, so even if people think it's underrated, it's still aging. I'm not confident at all that Best comes back (I'd retire if I was Best), and even if he does, he won't make it even half the season.

The Lions need a high caliber CB probably more than anything.

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LaMichael James may be available in the 3rd or 4th round. He could be a Daren Sproles type that could compliment LeShoure.

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I'm not sure who to keep on the defense anymore. I liked Levy, Spievey, Wright, Corey Williams, and Tulloch heading into and early in the season. Now I don't know if I want any of them back/starting. Was pleasantly surprised by Durant but I wasn't expecting much so that might be just a matter of low expectations. I still dislike Berry and Alphonso Smith. Will Spievey take the next step? What happened to Corey Williams? Will Suh rebound? How much more does KVB have in the tank? Will Delmas stay healthy all year?

On offense they have to focus on the line now. Can Backus do it again? Sooner or later he's going to lose that last step. They need to solid plan for post-Backus. What happened to Peterman and Sims? I expected more from them. I don't hate Raiola like many, so I don't see that as a priority. Other than that I think they need one more receiver. That should be low priority though.

I see LB, CB, S, T, G, WR, and DE as priorities. Maybe even multiple LBs, CBs, and Gs.

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I can live without Gunther Cunningham. Steve Spagnuolo is available and would be a nice fit. This Lions defense is similar to the Giants defense he used to coach.

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i'm all for BPA, but would have no objection to a raft that was nothing but OL and DB's. this draft needs to produce 1 starting caliber OL and 1 starting caliber DB, and have them doing so by absolutely no later than the end of next season-and the 1st rounder needs to start day 1.

i'd love it if the big G from stanford was still around at a point where we could get him. if we got him and a CB with the physical tools to start (and not just be a nickel/dime guy) i would consider the draft a massive success. a mid-round C who could watch and learn for a year or 2 would be icing on the cake.

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I definitely think they can use another WR, hopefully they can get a mid round value pick with some wheels. They should have 4 RB's under contract if Smith comes back, so there's not really a huge need there if everybody is healthy. I think it will help Best to limit his reps a bit, and feature LeShoure. This is not a really strong draft, especially OL/DB's, so the Lions have to once again compare needs with best available player. They will be picking in the 20's, so this might be a year where they trade down and for future picks. I believe they will franchise Avril if necessary, but hopefully that won't be needed and they will be able to sign him and Tulloch. They have some depth at DE, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if they didn't resign either. Megatron might have to be addressed, and Suh will be up after 2013.

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QB - Great. One of the best young QBs in the game. And a great backup that could probably start for a few teams.

RB - I am not a believer in drafting a RB high in the draft. It's gonna be a RB-by-committee next year, just gotta hope the best 3 stay healthy.

WR - The big 3 are fine, they won't have enough money to bring in anything great to back them up. Titus Young gets better and better.

TE - Fine here too. Yeah, Pettigrew has too many drops, but overall they don't need anything.

T - They can get by with the two tackles they have now. You'd like to improve it, but it's not the biggest issue

G/C - Raiola and Peterman need to be upgraded. Rob Simms isn't the greatest, but if you put good G/C with Simms, he is decent.

DE - They need to resign Cliff Avril, but I don't think they will be able to. He's gonna get a big raise from someone. Vanden Boesch has a little left in the tank, but they are gonna have to improve this position soon.

LB - They need at least one. At times the LBs were okay this year and they all have speed, but the tackling in the NOLA game was terrible. I'd like to keep Tulloch, but they need to upgrade at least one of the other two.

CB - The first half of the season (and the San Diego game) they overachieved, but we've known they have needed help here for a long time. Chris Houston is okay and Alfonso Smith drives you crazy because you see flashes of good sometimes.

S - I don't want to see Amari play unless 3 guys are injured in front of him. He's terrible.

My shopping list.

C/G

S

CB

LB

other C/G

They might not have a lot of free agent money because they have so many high draft stars (pre rookie cap), so they are gonna need a really good draft.

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Any early ideas on who might be good for us in the draft, and available when our picks come up ?

The Lions will draft either 23rd or 24th, so it's kind of a coin flip what they do. I think a lot will hinge on what they do with Backus. There are a couple of tackles (Adams from OSU, and Zebrie Sanders, who I prefer, from FSU) that could fit in there. It's not a good spot for CB's, since there are some 2nd round types. They might have to drop down if they want to go that route. There will be some LB's there if they need to replace Tulloch.

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Isn't Zebrie Sanders the tackle who stayed in his stance during an entire play? I know it may be a reach, but I like Peter Konz out of Wisconsin. It would also free up cap space by getting rid of Raiola's contract.

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Evaluation of 2011/prospects for 2012:

QB - Stafford - incredible season, incredible player, incredible prospects. Great poise. I realize that the league is suddenly changing in favor of the passing game, but he still was one of the best QB in the game, clearly the best mix of talent/poise/production I've ever seen at Lions QB. Man I hope this kid can stay healthy for 10 years. He will rewrite every record-book. Should be top-shelf again in 2012.

RB - Best/KSmith/Morris - Best was a little better than I thought he would be prior to the injury. A good slasher, a capable receiver. I think however he cannot be counted on to return and remain healthy/effective. KSmith did a very nice job, but is a complimentary back. Morris is another nice complimentary piece. The Lions will need to draft or trade for a productive running back to keep defenses honest in 2012.

TE - Pettigrew/Scheffler - two outstanding receivers at TE. Were highly productive and clutch in 2011, should be again in 2012. Didn't see enough of their blocking abilities to evaluate that.

WR - CJ/Burleson/Young/etc. - CJ is the best in the game, period. An incredible mix of everything. Burleson is not a bad possession receiver but makes a lot of mistakes. Young is an exciting prospect with speed but is raw, could be a big piece in 2012.

OL - Backus had a nice year this year, kept edge rushers reasonably in check. Lots of penalties on the unit in general, need to cut down in 2012. Need to add depth to this unit, and find a replacement for the aging Backus. The OL would be the one unit I could see holding the Lions back and even regressing, especially if Backus falters.

DL - Avril had a PB-level year, but strangely was unable to get pressure in the last two games. Suh was very quiet after his return. Williams and KVB also failed to be impactful in the second half of the year. For 2012, this is an enigma. Will Suh be the way he was before? Will Fairley provide some inside rush and run-stoppage? This could be another make/break unit.

LB - There was some depth in the LB corps and some playmaking, but they were very inconsistent in stopping the run, and rarely pressured opposing QBs. This is a group that needs more talent and a lot better scheme than the wide 9.

DB - Houston is a pretty good cover-guy, Delmas is a playmaker, but they are never going to be Pro-Bowl caliber players, and they cannot do it by themselves. There is absolutely NO depth in this group. The backups were horrlble. Speivey actually did a pretty good job covering TEs this year -- there were only three games were TEs caught more than 4 passes, and those were Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, and Graham last night. And none of them had more than 8 catches or more than 90 yards, and TEs only had a handful of TDs this year. Speivey may make some mistakes but he's decent enough. What would fit into this secondary perfectly with the three decent starters would be one shutdown CB and some depth guys on the bench. Obviously the depth should be available but the kind of CB they need is rare. More realistically, they need to find two pretty good CBs and one good run-stopping Strong Safety and mix it up better in 2012.

Special Teams - Hanson was great this year, he's old but in good shape for 2012. The punting game seems to have been fixed. The coverage units were torched a lot in 2011...this must improve in 2012. Logan is a pretty good return guy, not a Mel Gray by any stretch but good enough for what we need for 2012.

Coaching - Jim Schwartz needs to keep it professional and avoid blowups and the like. He's obviously a very talented HC. Linehan did a good job focusing on the passing game, but somehow the running game has to be more established in 2012 to protect Stafford. Gunther's defensive scheme was fairly effective against most teams but highly vulnerable. They will have to find a better way to limit big-play damage from passing offenses in 2012.

Overall, in 2012 I expect a playoff run, but unless they improve significantly in terms of the OL, RBs, LBs and DBs, continued difficulty in beating winning teams.

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Isn't Zebrie Sanders the tackle who stayed in his stance during an entire play? I know it may be a reach, but I like Peter Konz out of Wisconsin. It would also free up cap space by getting rid of Raiola's contract.

Konz isn't a tackle, nor a first round prospect, nor the best guard prospect from his school.

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They should have 4 RB's under contract if Smith comes back, so there's not really a huge need there if everybody is healthy. I think it will help Best to limit his reps a bit, and feature LeShoure.

That is the big "if" and it's probably highly unlikely.

That said, I've always been a firm believer a good talent evaluator can find quality at RB later in the draft or through free agency. Unless someone just falls in their lap, I wouldn't use a high draft pick on RB, if you trust your ability to evaluate.

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I definitely think they can use another WR, hopefully they can get a mid round value pick with some wheels. They should have 4 RB's under contract if Smith comes back, so there's not really a huge need there if everybody is healthy. I think it will help Best to limit his reps a bit, and feature LeShoure. This is not a really strong draft, especially OL/DB's, so the Lions have to once again compare needs with best available player. They will be picking in the 20's, so this might be a year where they trade down and for future picks. I believe they will franchise Avril if necessary, but hopefully that won't be needed and they will be able to sign him and Tulloch. They have some depth at DE, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if they didn't resign either. Megatron might have to be addressed, and Suh will be up after 2013.

Suh's contract is good through 2015, which is a voidable year. CJ is in the last year of his deal and will be making $14 million. I absolutely disagree that we should franchise Avril, he's earned a payday, but at no where near franchise tag numbers which will be around $11 million. He deserves a KVB size contract at somewhere around $5 million a year...which is also what I'd like to see Tulloch sign at.

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The second the plane lands in Detroit, Mayhew and CJ's agent need to sit down and and figure out what it is going to take to keep Calvin as a Lion for the next 5 years. That is priority 1(as will be the same priority next year to lock up Stafford for the next 7 or 8).

I have been going back and forth about what this team needs all night last night and this morning. With the weapons we have on offense the defense does not have to be great...they have to be at least average though. With that said I don't think the defense was bad, they were average which is all they needed to be. I really like Gunther and I hate complaining about coaching(i used to coach and hated parents that bitvhed that didn;t understand the time that went into planning) but at some point especially when playing a guy like Brees and we are getting zero pressure...you have to send the blitz or stunt at some point and it never came. I think we relied to heavily on the DL to come through and at times they did but when they are not, there needs to be a plan B and we never had that b/c our blitzing was sparse and unoriginal. I hope Jim and Gunther come to a similar conclusion. I really think the talent is there and NO TEAM WILL EVER HAVE ZERO FLAWS and I trust Mayhew to make all the right calls.

Go Lions!!!!!!!!!!!

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Konz isn't a tackle, nor a first round prospect, nor the best guard prospect from his school.

Ummmmm, Konz is a 1st round prospect and he is a center.

My Off season would look like this:

*Extend Calvin Johnson to a 7 year/100 million deal

*Re-sign Cliff Avril to a 4 year/32 million deal

*Re-sign Stephen Tulloch to a 4 year/22 million deal

*Re-sign Jeff Backus to a 1 year/1.5 million deal

*Sign Cortland Finnegan to a 4 year/20 million deal

Those are the big name re-signings/signings I would do.

As for restructures/cuts, i would do this:

*Restructure Raiola's contract

*Cut Kyle Vanden Bosch (ZERO percent chance this happens but I think he sucks.)

*Cut Stephen Peterman

(Also think Best could retire which would give us some salary relief.)

Trades:

*Trade Corey Williams for a 5th round pick. We need salary relief. We have Sammie Hill and Nick Fairley anyways.

Draft:

1. CB Alfonzo Dennard

2. LB Lavonte David

3. OT Nate Potter

4. C William Vlachos

5. WR Jarius Wright

5. RB Cyrus Gray

7. Developmental O-Lineman or pass rusher

Thoughts?

Edited by MC24

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Konz isn't a tackle, nor a first round prospect, nor the best guard prospect from his school.

Konz first off is a center, has been projected as a late first round pick, and is regarded as the best center in the draft.

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This is the current depth chart situation...

Quarterback

1. Matthew Stafford – Under Contract through 2014

2. Shaun Hill – Unrestricted Free Agent

3. Drew Stanton – Unrestricted Free Agent

Running Back

1. Jahvid Best – Under Contract through 2014

2. Mikel Leshoure – Under Contract through 2014

3. Kevin Smith – Unrestricted Free Agent

4. Maurice Morris – Unrestricted Free Agent

5. Jerome Harrison – Unrestricted Free Agent

6. Keiland Williams – Under Contract through 2012

Wide Reciever

1. Calvin Johnson – Under Contract through 2012

2. Nate Burleson – Under Contract through 2014

3. Titus Young – Under Contract through 2014

4. Maurice Stovall – Unrestricted Free Agent

5. Stefan Logan – Restricted Free Agent

6. Rashied Davis – Unrestricted Free Agent

Tight End

1. Brandon Pettigrew – Under Contract through 2014

2. Tony Scheffler – Under Contract through 2013

3. Will Heller – Under Contract through 2012

Left Tackle

1. Jeff Backus – Under Contract through 2012

2. Jason Fox – Under Contract through 2012

Left Guard

1. Rob Sims – Under Contract through 2014

2. Jacques McClendon – Under Contract through 2013

Center

1. Dominic Raiola – Under Contract through 2013

Right Guard

1. Stephen Peterman – Under Contract through 2013

2. Dylan Gandy – Under Contract through 2012

Right Tackle

1. Gosder Cherilus – Under Contract through 2012

2. Corey Hilliard – Restricted Free Agent

Defensive Tackle

1. Ndamukong Suh – Under Contract through 2014

2. Corey Williams – Under Contract through 2013

3. Nick Fairley – Under Contract through 2014

4. Sammie Lee Hill – Restricted Free Agent

5. Andre Fluellen – Unrestricted Free Agent

Defensive End

1. Cliff Avril – Unrestricted Free Agent

2. Kyle Vanden Bosch – Under Contract through 2013

3. Lawrence Jackson – Under Contract through 2012

4. Willie Young – Under Contract through 2012

Outside Linebacker

1. Deandre Levy – Restricted Free Agent

2. Justin Durant – Under Contract through 2012

3. Bobby Carpenter – Unrestricted Free Agent

4. Isaiah Ekejiuba – Unrestricted Free Agent

5. Doug Hogue – Under Contract through 2014

Inside Linebacker

1. Stephen Tulloch – Unrestricted Free Agent

2. Ashlee Palmer – Unrestricted Free Agent

Cornerback

1. Chris Houston – Under Contract through 2012

2. Eric Wright – Unrestricted Free Agent

3. Alphonso Smith – Under Contract through 2012

4. Aaron Berry – Under Contract through 2012

5. Don Carey – Under Contract through 2012

Free Safety

1. Louis Delmas – Under Contract through 2012

2. John Wendling – Under Contract through 2013

3. Ricardo Silva – Unrestricted Free Agent

Strong Safety

1. Amari Spievey – Under Contract through 2012

2. Erik Coleman – Unrestricted Free Agent

Place Kicker

1. Jason Hanson – Under Contract through 2012

Punter

1. Ryan Donahue – Under Contract through 2013

2. Ben Graham – Unrestricted Free Agent

Long Snapper

1. Don Muhlbach – Unrestricted Free Agent

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The Lions need some new linebackers. Preferably ones that can tackle.

The offense is fine, although adding more speed at receiver is always a good thing. The NFL is a pass happy league, the more receivers you have, the better.

I dont think cornerback is the problem. Delmas being out was a problem. Speivey wasn't that good. Houston being hurt was a problem.

The real worrying sign was the lack of consistent pass rush. Avril had a good season getting single teamed all the time, but Suh was a huge disappointment. Williams was much better than Suh this season. Fairley showed flashes but was injured too much.

As for the draft, they should stick to the BPA strategy that has done them well so far. If you had to put a priority on any one position, they might want to think about OL, DE, and linebacker. There isn't going to be a cornerback available that will be worth a first round pick, IMO. They need to think about longterm replacements for Raiola, Backus and Vandenbosch.

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