Lions turn attention to DBs, linebackers

Posted May 01, 2011 @ 6:50 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

In the afterglow of the Lions' draft, in which they added some very talented players, especially in Rounds One and Two, there was this reality: They still need help in the back seven on defense.

The Lions' brass, namely head coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew, were quick to defend their picks and lack of support — outside of fifth-round LB Doug Hogue — in those areas of great need.

"I'm concerned about those spots at corner and linebacker," Mayhew said. "I'm not concerned about taking the best player that we can find and have a very defined role on our football team.

"What I told (the media prior to the draft), we're going to draft the best players that we can find. We feel like we've done a good job, especially last year, after the draft process, we think we'll do the same thing this year. There will be some opportunities to fill some gaps later on."

That process will begin when free agency and trades are green-lit by the NFL. Some reports say the Lions will go hard after free-agent CB Nnamdi Asomugha to fill the need for a starter opposite Chris Houston, but the team naturally will have lots of competitors for his services and might not be able to match the financial package Asomugha could be seeking.

There also are two LB jobs open currently, with only DeAndre Levy — presumably in the middle, although he also could play outside if needed — currently locked into a starting position. The good news is that the free-agency crop has some solid veterans who could be cheaper options who could fit into those spots.

Schwartz said he likes the team's current crop of linebackers, which also includes Bobby Carpenter, Ashlee Palmer, Zack Follett and Caleb Campbell, and didn't feel the need to reach for LBs or cornerbacks in this draft class.

"If I thought we didn't have any linebackers or corners, I'd be trying to acquire linebackers and corners," he said. "As I said before, this is not our finish line. When we (get into free agency), we still have the opportunity to sign players — to acquire players. This is part of the process."

Hogue is considered a bit of a project, having converted in college from running back, but he could get an opportunity to play soon.