The Detroit Lions are in a tough spot. They have made the playoffs two of the last three years and want to keep it going. In order to do that they must plug holes and fast in order to keep up with the Jones’ (or the Rodgers) if you will in the NFC North. But the Lions also have long-term issues facing them at Quarterback with Matthew Stafford entering a contract year.
To fix both of these problems, General Manager Bob Quinn has seven draft picks and roughly $46 million in salary cap. That leaves next to zero room for error as the Detroit Lions General Manager prepares his off-season plan.
Serving Two Masters
If Bob Quinn is to address both the short-term and long-term agenda he must target players who can make an immediate impact on the field in 2017. No more developmental projects like Ziggy Ansah or stretch draft picks like Eric Ebron. They can’t afford to take a chance on aging veterans like Haloti Ngata while hoping they find the fountain of youth. Or waste cap space on players like Dan Orlvosky who have not chance to contribute on the field.
The Lions need players that fit into three categories:
- Players with a proven track record of success who can reasonably expect to maintain or improve their current level of production.
- Young players who can have an immediate impact on the field of play.
- Players who fill a very specific need and can fill that need starting the first snap of the season.
The Detroit Lions can’t can’t afford to sign a big name veteran who only figures to have a limited role on the field. Nor can they afford to sign that complimentary player to round out a position group. The Lions need to bring in starters. Players who can fill the void and protect our role players from becoming over-exposed.
No More “Projects”
The current coaching staff has not shown the ability to develop anybody. High draft picks in recent years have either failed to take steps forward or regressed under the current staff. Others have moved to different teams only to realize their potential under different leadership. Consequently, finding a ‘diamond in the rough” is not something this staff is capable of and that’s ok. Instead the Lion’s brass should play to the strengths of the coaching staff and bring in players that are already possess solid position fundamentals.
The One Exception
The notable exception to this is at quarterback. The Detroit Lions must decide quickly if they are going to extend Matthew Stafford or simply let him play out his contract. If their choice is the later, they must draft a quarterback who is capable of backing up and learning from the veteran in the last year of his deal. Failing to do so could result in more wasted time and money. With limited cap space and the urgency to contend, both are in short supply for this franchise.