Last year, the Lions lost their top three DTs and this year, they find themselves bent over the barrel again. Game Wright and Caraun Reid are the only returning DTs of significance while Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker are free agents.
There are a bunch of talented DTs hitting free agency this year. Malik Jackson probably headlines the list, followed by guys like Akiem Hicks, Terrance Knighton, Leroy Guion, Ahtyba Rubin and B.J. Raji. The problem is, like Ngata, most of these guys are on the wrong side of 30 or very close to it. Some of these names may also end up re-signing with their previous teams.
Akeem Hicks and Tyrunn Walker are among the youngest FA DTs this year, and I think the Lions will try to sign at least one of them. With Walker, the Lions coaching staff has seen enough of him to know if they want to bring him back and they may be able to bring him back at a small discount since he’s returning from a broken leg.
Still, it’s probable that if the Lions sign any other DTs in FA, it’ll be as a stop gap. Expect the team to address the inside of the defensive line in the draft.