Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young (79) before the game against the New York Giants at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Scanning the Savanna: Detroit Lions News from Around the Web

Scanning the Savanna searches the web for Detroit Lions news and notes each morning and brings it to your fingertips in one easy location.

NFL teams doing lots of homework on underclassmen
Tim Twentyman —

A record 98 underclassmen declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, breaking last year’s record of 73.

The long list of redshirt sophomores and juniors who’ve declared have made this one of the deepest draft classes in recent memory.

Consider this, of the 26 prospects that have graded out to a 90 or above by ESPN, 15 are underclassmen.

The 5 Moves Detroit Lions Must Avoid in Free Agency
Jeff Risdon — Bleacher Report

With free agency less than a week away, personnel departments for the 32 NFL teams are in overdrive trying to prioritize and value hundreds of potential players to sign.

While it’s exciting to be able to go shopping on the free-agent market, teams that are smart in their spending fare a lot better than teams that go willy-nilly with an open checkbook.

One of the best ways to win in free agency is not to lose in free agency.

Lions feel free to draft a player at (almost) any position at No. 10 overall
Dave Birkett — Detroit Free Press

For years, having a top pick in the NFL draft meant taking the best quarterback, offensive tackle or pass rusher available. Because top picks cost so much, teams were reluctant use one on players who played something other than the highest-paid positions.

But under the new collective bargaining agreement, that has changed.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, who has a top-10 pick for the second straight year and fourth time in six drafts, said teams no longer feel like they’re forced into certain positions early and can take the best player available, regardless of where he plays.

Lions don’t use franchise tag but still interested in TE Brandon Pettigrew
Josh Katzenstein – The Detroit News

The NFL’s deadline for teams to use the franchise tag has come and gone, and the Lions didn’t use it on any players.

The only player who was a legitimate possibility for the tag was Brandon Pettigrew, but the price of $7.035 million for a tight end was a bit steep.

At the NFL combine two weeks ago, general manager Martin Mayhew said the Lions are “definitely” interested in bringing Pettigrew back in 2014 and had plans to speak with his agent during the combine.

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