With the 2011 season in the rearview mirror, the Lions front office must turn their attention toward taking the next step in becoming a Super Bowl contender. There are many in-house free agency decisions to be made, but if the franchise is truly going to ascend into post-season relevance, they must improve the talent level and depth of the team. The positions in the greatest need of upgrade are the defensive backfield and the offensive line. These two areas need a player that can step in and play immediately, which may not be possible to find in the draft with the 23rdpick.
The best option to fill these holes will be through free agency. While any Lions fan would love to see the Franchise pull an Ilitch and sign a Prince Fielder type player, the Lions simply do not have the salary cap room, and depending on which of their own free agents they re-sign, may have very little to work with. That being the likely case, highly coveted names like Carlos Rogers and La’Ron Landry aren’t realistic options. There are several names that have been whispered throughout the internet as possible targets for the Lions that seem reasonable from both a scheme, as well as a financial standpoint.
Ben Grubbs, G-Baltimore
The Lions are (or at least should be) desperate for a competent guard to replace Stephen Peterman. Perhaps the 2007 or 2008 Lions could get away with starting a player simply because he “worked hard” in practice, or he “had a lot of heart”. Those days are over in Detroit. This is a respectable team, with an explosive offense, but how can they expect opponents to fear them with Peterman in the starting lineup? Let alone expect any type of a running game in 2012.
Ben Grubbs has been a solid player for the Ravens, starting 70 games since 2007 at guard. Baltimore will try to re-sign Grubbs this off-season, but with a new contract on the horizon for Ray Rice that may end up in the application of the franchise tag, Grubbs will not be their top priority.
Grubbs is an agile offensive lineman with sufficient size and strength to move defensive tackles off of the line of scrimmage in running situations, which has been one of the Lions largest struggles. Mobility is also an area of strength as the versatile lineman has shown the ability to pull, and get to linebackers at the second level. Grubbs is a stout run blocker, which is what the Lions desperately need.