With the 2016 NFL Draft officially in the books, it’s time for Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn to scour the waiver wire for any free agents who could strengthen the roster.
Here is a list of 5 free agents the Lions should consider signing.
Anquan Boldin (WR)
When Calvin Johnson finally announced that he was officially retiring from the NFL, it was obvious that rookie general manager Bob Quinn would have his work cut out for him to find somebody to fill the void. Quinn almost immediately brought in wide receiver Marvin Jones, who was thought by many to be the best FA wide receiver available.
Despite signing Jones, most thought the Lions would select at least one wide receiver in the NFL Draft, but it was not meant to be. (Quinn even passed on Aaron Burbridge in the 6th round in favor of a long snapper).
The Lions should strongly consider bringing in veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Though he may be 35-years-old, not a number you want associated with a receiver, Boldin still has some gas in the tank and could pay off. Worst case scenario, you get a possession receiver who is a great guy in the locker room.
Dominique Easley (DT)
When the New England Patriots released the 24-year-old Dominique Easley, it grabbed the attention of just about everyone. Why release a young player who is so talented? Well, Easley, who was a 1st Round draft pick in 2014 has had a history of injury problems and the Patriots had seen enough. (Of course Quinn comes to the Lions from New England so all bets could be off)
If the Lions were to roll the dice on Easley, they would be getting a player that Pro Football Focus ranked as one of the best inside rushers in the game. In fact, Easley was ranked just behind the great J.J. Watt in terms of Pass Rush Productivity by PFF.
Easley could be a player, who if can stay healthy, would provide a great spark for the Lions defensive line and could give the aging Haloti Ngata a breather.
Jason Jones (DE)
Jason Jones, who turns 30-years-old on May 23rd, is a player who many Lions fans assume will re-sign with the team but nothing is a guarantee. Though he is not considered an elite pass rusher, Jones has proven that he can get to the quarterback and wants to make sure that he gets paid what he’s worth.
Jones has visited with the Miami Dolphins twice and has also been linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. If Bob Quinn is interested in bringing back the talented DE, he may want to make his move sooner than later, especially considering the Lions did not address that position in the NFL Draft.
Leon Hall (CB)
Cornerback is another position the Lions ignored at the NFL Draft and Leon Hall could be a veteran who could pay off big time for the Lions. Hall may be 31-years-old but he still has a couple of productive seasons in front of him.
With Darius Slay on one side, the Lions could really use an experienced cornerback to play on the other side. As of now, the Lions look like they will be going to battle with Nevin Lawson on the right side of the field.
DeMeco Ryans (ILB)
In my opinion, one of the most important positions on a defense is middle linebacker. At the moment it looks like the Lions will be starting Tahir Whitehead at that position, but I’d prefer him to play on the outside along with DeAndre Levy.
Since the Bob Quinn did not address that position via the draft, he would be wise to kick the tires on former Philadelphia Eagles MLB DeMeco Ryans. The 31-year-old veteran could be exactly what the Lions ordered on defense, though it is unlikely that he would be the starter. Ryans is getting up there in age and definitely is not what he once was, but he could still be a 2-down type linebacker for a team that needs just that.