Brandon Olsen (with help from Henny Bello)
Follow them on Twitter @WNS_Brandon and @davejusttweeted
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Team Needs:

Slot WR, TE, RG, EDGE, ILB, CB

Available Draft Picks:

1(8), 2(43), 3(89), 4(105), 5(136), 6(171), 6(192), 7(202), 7(212)

Starting Cap Space:

$30,635,227

Trades:

None

Restructures:

None

Cuts:

OL TJ Lang to save $8,843,750

FS Glover Quin to save $6,250,000

LB Christian Jones to save $3,000,000

OL Kenny Wiggins to save $2,750,000

TJ Lang has lost a few steps and hasn’t been able to stay healthy for all 16 games since 2014 so I think it’s time to cut the weight, save the cap, and get younger and healthier up front by letting Tyrell Crosby bounce inside and take over the right guard slot. Glover Quin is another player thats lost a few steps and with Tracy Walker waiting in the wings, I don’t think there’s much of a reason to continue paying him as much as he’s making. Kenny Wiggins is overpaid for a backup and he could be replaced fairly easily in either free agency or the draft. Christian Jones is a backup-quality linebacker when this defense needs some starting talent, cut him and aim to replace him later on in the offseason.

Re-signings:

OLB Eli Harold for 3 yr, $5,400,000

LS Don Muhlbach for 1 yr, $1,105,000

DE Romeo Okwara for 1 yr, $2,900,000 (Second round tender)

TE Levine Toilolo for 2 yr, $5,000,000

Eli Harold is a young edge defender with potential so bringing him back and letting him learn under Matt Patricia. Harold had his career-high in sacks for the Lions while not being listed as a starter in any of the games he played in. The talent has always been there, he’s just never been able to put it together. Levine Toilolo is an inexpensive option at TE that’s willing to block and has great size to be a threat in the red zone. Romeo Okwara quietly had a great season last year with 7 sacks coming off the edge. Placing the second-round tender on him was a no-brainer. You don’t play for 15 years if you aren’t good at your job. Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach is coming off of his second Pro Bowl nod so I don’t think he’s done yet. Bringing him back for another year helps keep the special teams unit together.

Free Agent Signings:

DE Trey Flowers for 5 years, $78,000,000

LB Jordan Hicks for 4 years, $35,000,000

G John Miller 2 years, $10,000,000

OLB Shane Ray for 2 years, $6,500,000

With some money to blow in free agency this season and plenty of talent available in the front seven, the Lions comes away from free agency with a serious boost in talent on defense. The premier signing is Trey Flowers coming over from New England to reunite with his former defensive coordinator and Lions head coach Matt Patricia. In New England, Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick were always known for making the most out of their linebackers. Bringing in an outside linebacker like Shane Ray, who’s struggled since getting drafted, on a fairly cheap contract and inside linebacker Jordan Hicks should be a massive upgrade to this defense and the front seven should now be one of the most-feared in the NFC. Signing John Miller was signed so that there would be an insurance policy in place just in case Crosby’s move to being a full-time guard doesn’t plan out as expected or if someone else on the inside gets injured.

Draft Results:

Pick 1.8 – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Darius Slay needs help. Teez Tabor hasn’t panned out, Nevin Lawson is better suited to stay in the slot, and Quandre Diggs is a safety. Drafting a big corner here that should be able to cover the opposing teams #2 is the biggest priority remaining for the Lions this offseason.

Pick 2.43 – Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina

Deebo has absolutely blown up since the start of Senior Bowl week but he’s always had the talent to be an immediate contributor and if it weren’t for an injury, he could have been an early round pick in last year’s draft. The Lions find a new starting slot receiver to replace Golden Tate and give Matthew Stafford a great third option.

Pick 3.89 – Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

Luke Willson shouldn’t have been a starting tight end last year, Levine Toilolo isn’t starting caliber either. Isaac Nauta is capable of coming in right away, contributing a bit in the passing game, and absolutely cleaning house in the run game. Nauta is a super physical blocker that could really open up some holes for Kerryon Johnson.

Pick 4.105 – Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama

The most well known edge rusher from Alabama this year is Christian Miller. Miller has active hands even when he’s getting blocked to try and bat passes, he’s got nice length, a great motor when pass-rushing, and he’s capable of playing either with his hand in the dirt or out of a 2-point stance.

Pick 5.136 – Martez Ivey, OL, Florida

Coming out of high school, Martez Ivey was one of the most highly-sought after linemen. Coming out of college he doesn’t have the same hype but he does still have a lot of untapped potential. He’s capable of playing tackle and guard so he’s there for depth or an eventual starting role.

Pick 6.171 – Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke

Athleticism, size, energy. Those are some of the things that Joe Giles-Harris brings to the table on every play. Giles-Harris is capable of rotating in on defense and playing special teams for the Lions, making him a solid pick here late.

Pick 6.192 – Marquise Blair, S, Utah

Marquise Blair is a versatile defensive back that’s capable of playing as a safety or nickel defender. Blair has good size, he’s rangey, and he’s physical so at worst here, you can find another contributor on special teams at gunner.

Pick 7.202 – Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo

In college, Diontae Johnson was one of the most electrifying athletes in the MAC every time he touched the ball. He’s fallen off a bit due to a lack of production this past year but most of that was due to poor quarterback play. Diontae is capable of playing both inside and outside, he’s got 4 return touchdowns in the past two years, and he’s a smaller receiver with a large catch radius. He could blow up after the combine but right now, this is great value.

Pick 7.212 – Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida

Scarlett’s value plummeted when he got arrested for credit card fraud and missed all of the 2017-18 season. However, Scarlett came back this year and averaged just a shade under 6 yards per carry by bringing his physical, bulldozing style to the field week in and week out. He’s not as big as LeGarrette Blount but he runs like a battering ram and could be a nice power back for the Lions when Kerryon needs a break.

Cap Space Spent on Re-signings:

$8,305,000

Cap Space Spent on Free Agents:

$32,600,000

Cap Space Spent on Draft Picks:

$5,677,529

Total Cap Remaining:

$2,916,448

Backfield Starters

QB: Matthew Stafford

RB: Kerryon Johnson

FB: Nick Bawden

Receiver Starters

WR1: Kenny Golladay

WR2: Marvin Jones Jr.

Slot: Deebo Samuel

TE1: Isaac Nauta

TE2: Levine Toilolo

Offensive Line Starters

LT: Taylor Decker

LG: Frank Ragnow

C: Graham Glasgow

RG: Tyrell Crosby

RT: Rick Wagner

Defensive Line Starters

WDE: Trey Flowers

NT: Damon Harrison

SDE: Da’Shawn Hand

Linebacker Starters

WLB: Shane Ray

WILB: Jarrad Davis

SILB: Jordan Hicks

SLB: Devon Kennard

Secondary Starters

CB1: Darius Slay

CB2: Greedy Williams

Slot: Nevin Lawson

FS: Tracy Walker

SS: Quandre Diggs

Special Teamers

K: Matt Prater

P: Sam Martin

LS: Don Muhlbach

KOS: Matt Prater

KR: Jamal Agnew

PR: Jamal Agnew

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