Jim Schwartz has been a huge Jeff Backus supporter for years, but he has to face facts. Even if he thinks Backus is good for some reason, he’s a 34 year old free agent who needs a long term replacement, even if he is resigned. Oh, and he’s not good, allowing 7 sacks and 39 pressures, while committing 11 penalties last season. If retained, he could move to right tackle, where Gosder Cherilus allowed 9 sacks and 27 pressures, with 5 penalties committed, while struggling as a run blocker. At least one new offensive tackle is needed.
If the Lions are serious about winning the Super Bowl, they need better cornerbacks than Eric Wright and Chris Houston. They have a great pass rush, but can you imagine if they actually had talented cornerbacks to match up one on one with receivers.
Cornerback isn’t their only problem area in the secondary. In fact, only Louis Delmas is an above average starter. Amari Spievey was pretty bad at free safety last year and needs to be replaced.
Dominic Raiola is a 33 year old declining player at center. He used to be a solid starter, but last year he was pretty bad.
Stephen Tulloch was a great one year resigning, but he’ll have to be resigned. If he’s not, DeAndre Levy will probably move back into the middle, his natural position, after a disappointing season on the outside, but they would need a new outside linebacker in that situation.
Cliff Avril is a free agent. The Lions seem hesitant to give him a long term deal and would prefer to use the franchise tag on him. However, Avril has suggested he may hold out if he’s tagged. Meanwhile, Kyle Vanden Bosch is 33 years old. They could use a long term successor for him.
The Lions have used early picks on running backs in the last few years with little to no success. Kevin Smith was drafted in the 3rd in 2008, Jahvid Best in the 1st in 2010, and Mikel Leshoure in the 2nd last year. However, they still seem to always end up having to use Maurice Morris down the stretch. Best and Smith can’t stay healthy, while Leshoure will be coming off an Achilles tear. They could use another running back in the mix.