After starting out the season 2-0-1 and playing the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to the final possession, the Detroit Lions had a disappointing season filled with injuries. The squad lacked the depth to even tread water, finishing the season 3-12-1 with the third overall pick in the draft.
If the injury bug were to plague the Lions yet again in 2020, they may want to add some key veteran players in free agency who can provide that depth or even possibly start in Detroit.
Here is a cornerback, an offensive lineman, and a pass rusher the Lions should look to pursue in free agency.
Trae Waynes, Cornerback
Even though Darius Slay has made three consecutive Pro Bowls, he is asking to be one of the highest paid corners in the league. Whether the Lions re-sign him or not, it would be wise of them to pursue a corner in free agency, since 30-year-old Rashaan Melvin is set to hit free agency.
The Lions had one of the worst secondary units in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus, but adding Waynes to that unit could drastically improve it.
The former Michigan State Spartan has amassed 247 tackles, 42 passes defended, and seven interceptions in five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. It’s also notable to remember that with Xavier Rhodes playing opposite of him, he was often being targeted by opposing quarterbacks, but was still able to hold his own. His talents in man coverage should work well in Matt Patricia’s scheme.
Brandon Schreff, Offensive Tackle/Guard
The Detroit Lions were ranked just outside the top 10 in PFF’s postseason offensive line rankings, but the left guard spot was mediocre at best with a rotating cast of Kenny Wiggins, Oday Aboushi, and Beau Benzschawel, and the handsomely paid Rick Wagner has largely been a disappointment.
If the Lions don’t take a lineman in one of their first few draft picks, they would be wise to pursue a lineman like Brandon Schreff in free agency. The former Iowa Hawkeye is one of the most underrated lineman in football, as he only allowed one sack and only accumulated nine penalties last season, which is the second fewest of any starting lineman.
Carl Nassib, Defensive End
Nassib made a name for himself on Hard Knocks a few seasons ago, but after he was cut on the show, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Since joining the Bucs, in 29 games, Nassib has racked up 12.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, and 34 total tackles to go along with two passes defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
He wouldn’t be a star on the Detroit Lions, but with as much man coverage as the Lions play, they will take any pass rush they can get. If the Lions get lucky and are able to draft Chase Young third overall, Nassib could be more than capable of being a complementary pass rusher who could get double digit sacks and make a few big plays in the right defensive system.