The Detroit Lions’ season could also be over, however now the group has the prospect to do some further scouting as they watch the convention championships play out.
Every of the 4 groups taking part in has gamers whose contracts will expire when the brand new league 12 months begins in March, that means these performs shall be free to signal with different groups if they don’t seem to be re-signed.
With that, right here is one participant from every of the remaining playoff groups that could possibly be a superb match for Detroit in 2023:
LB Azeez Al-Shaair, San Francisco 49ers
As of now, the Detroit Lions solely have two off-ball linebackers below contract heading into the 2023 offseason: Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez.
Detroit is in determined want of linebacker depth, and Al-Shaair can be a superb choice that would come at a decrease value than a few of the bigger-name free agent linebackers.
Al-Shaair signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and has began 31 video games for them over the previous 4 seasons.
He has had a formidable profession for San Francisco, recording 199 whole tackles and two sacks. His largest accomplishment was his means to show the ball over, as he has notched two interceptions, two pressured fumbles, and three fumble recoveries all through his NFL profession.
Rodriguez will certainly begin for Detroit subsequent season, and Barnes has proven a lot enchancment. The protection usually performs two off-ball linebackers of their scheme however starters are rotated out and in typically, that means Al-Shaair would get important taking part in time if he signed with the Lions.
CB James Bradberry, Philadelphia Eagles
Issues are trying bleak in Detroit’s cornerback room. Jerry Jacobs performed nicely sufficient to be thought-about for a beginning position, although the job isn’t his simply but. Jeff Okudah, a former first-round decide, was benched for the final two video games of the season. The Lions must spend huge cash on a cornerback in the event that they wish to be aggressive in 2023.
Philadelphia’s James Bradberry shall be one of many high cornerbacks available on the market this offseason and regardless of the value tag that’s positive to return with him, he can be a assured starter for the Lions.
This season alone, counting the postseason, Bradberry has defended in opposition to 19 passes, 4 of which he got here away with an interception on.
Detroit has a younger group of cornerbacks in the mean time with Jacobs, Okudah, rookie Chase Lucas, backup Bobby Worth, and futures deal signees Khalil Dorsey and Jarren Williams. Bradberry, at 29 years previous, can be a much-needed veteran presence in that locker room.
TE Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
The Detroit Lions had one of the productive seasons from their tight finish group in group historical past, but the tight finish place continues to be a necessity for them heading into the offseason.
Rookie James Mitchell is the one participant below contract proper now. Breakout gamers Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra, who every discovered the endzone 4 instances in 2022, are exclusive-rights free brokers. Which means whereas it’s probably that the Lions will retain their rights, there’s nonetheless an opportunity that they may allow them to stroll.
The Lions want a receiving choice in addition to a veteran presence to assist their younger group of tight ends develop, and Cincinatti’s Hayden Hurst could possibly be a correct match.
Hurst was a first-round decide in 2018 by the Baltimore Ravens and has additionally frolicked with the Atlanta Falcons earlier than signing with the Bengals.
Whereas he hasn’t lived as much as his draft standing, he proved this season that he’s nonetheless an asset to have on offense. Counting the postseason, Hurst has caught 61 of 80 targets for 518 yards and three touchdowns. Balls safety hasn’t been a difficulty for him both, solely dropping six passes and fumbling as soon as in his five-year profession.
Hurst would properly praise the blocking abilities of Wright and Zylstra together with his means to be a deep risk as a receiver when wanted.
DL Derrick Nnadi, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs
With only a few choices on the inside line of defense, the Lions are going to wish to search out all the assistance that they’ll get this offseason. Whereas there’ll certainly be better-known choices available on the market, Derrick Nnadi is likely to be the most effective worth for Detroit.
Nnadi was a third-round decide by the Chiefs in 2018 and has been with them for his entire profession. Over that span, he has appeared in all however one recreation for Kansas Metropolis as a nostril sort out and 3-technique.
This versatility on the line of defense is simply what the Lions are on the lookout for of their four-man entrance. With one velocity rusher and one big-bodied defensive finish, the opposite two spots go to defensive tackles who may be disruptive in opposition to each the move and run.
Nnadi has logged 193 tackles, six tackles-for-loss, and a pressured fumble in his profession. He has additionally proved himself as a stable defender in opposition to the move, recording one interception, 4 sacks, and 7 quarterback hits for the Chiefs.
The Lions presently have simply Alim McNeill, Michael Brockers, Levi Onwuzurike, and Demetrius Taylor below contract whereas Benito Jones is an exclusive-rights free agent. Brockers is more likely to be let go within the coming months and Onwuzurike has spent most of his profession on injured reserve. Which means the Lions want a reliable beginning sort out to pair with McNeill, and Nnadi is an ideal match.