Not sure yet how to feel about the ex-Detroit coaches joining the staff - when the entire Lions fan base is telling you they aren't good, thats usually a bad sign, did we not learn this lesson with Danny Crossman?
My hope is Schwartz doesn't try to radically change the system again, as I thought Pettine did an amazing job of looking at the talent on hand and catering our schemes to fit the talent - I hate when coaches just want to run 'their system' and then go reaching for players that fit their system.
So assuming we stick to our current scheme on defense here are the personnel moves I'd like to see this off-season:
First and foremost, sign or franchise Jairus Byrd, my bitter side says to just continually franchise him to teach him and Parker a lesson - though being forced to take 10+ million bucks a year sure is a tough pill to swallow - sarcasm! Byrd is one of our few elite level talents and we can not let players like him get away from us, especially if they leave for nothing.
In a move that I'm sure will get some backlash, I also want to see us bring Chandler back. There are 3 stud TEs in this draft, all of whom will likely be off the board by our second round pick. I don't see any other TEs in this draft who are clearly better than Chandler is right now. Also Chandler is arguably the best FA TE on the market. He has a familiarity with our franchise and honestly had a pretty good season this year. As log as we don't have to break the bank he should be back.
The only other UFA we have who I want back is Frank the Tank. Underutilized is the word i would use to describe Summers - lets get him more involved next year - he's too good not to get the rock a little more.
Carrington is a good player, I just am sick of Eugene Parker, I honestly think its worth it to tell Carrington to kick rocks just to avoid negotiating with 2 Parker clients in the same off-season. From here on in I think we avoid draftee's and FA's who are represented by this clown. Yes, all agents are creeps, but some are worse than others - the best agents are guys whose names you've never heard of, because they aren't like Rosenhaus and Parker, they just go about their business quietly.
Next we need to make a splash to fix our broken OL. The guy I want is Rodger Saffold, either as a RT or more fittingly at OG. When the Rams played him at guard this year he looked special - a massive man with quick feet. He may cost tackle money, but at guard, which I think is OK - he has pro bowl potential at guard. Since we want to be a smash mouth offense we need a mauler up front who we can run behind - a Cordy Glenn/Saffold left side of the line would be massive and scary.
Now that we splurged for 2 marquee FA's (Byrd and Saffold) we need a couple more affordable signings to round out the roster.
First we bring home local boy Arthur Jones to man the spot vacated by Carrington. A similar player to AC, I think Jones will relish the chance to play for the hometown team and is an excellent scheme fit assuming we stay with the same scheme.
In continuing the trend of adding DL who fit our scheme I also want to bring in Pat Sims who can man some NT for us. We all love us some Kyle Williams, but we are at the stage of his career where it would be a good idea to start limiting his snaps so as to keep him fresh. Sims can man some nose on run downs and put his giant 330+ lb body next to Dareus and Branch and we have a 3 man front that goes over 1000 pounds - should help plug some of our run down woes.
Last FA signing is Desmond Bishop. Bishop looked like one of the best 3-4 ILBs in the league prior to a major injury. He is a couple years removed from that injury now and may relish a chance to catch on in a scheme more akin to the one he stood out in at Green Bay.
Now on to the draft:
Round 1 - Mike Evans WR Texas A&M - I know its not a very imaginative or original pick, but its just such a perfect fit. Evans is a master of jump balls and high pointing fade routes, you guys know who looooves throwing fade routes? EJ Manuel loooooooves throwing fade routes, he loves it so much. Evans should be available, we need a true #1, he fits our scheme to perfection - especially because he's a great run blocker, he fits with our QB. This is a no-brainer in my book. If Watkins somehow falls this far, I would take him over Evans - Watkins is a sure thing.
Round 2 - Antonio Richardson OT Tenn. - Another perfect marriage of value and scheme fit. Richardson has the physical tools to be a pro bowl right tackle, some think his quick feet can make him a left tackle prospect. I just know we like big OL and it don't get much bigger. An OL of Glenn/Saffold/Wood/Urbik/Richardson is both ginormous and uber-talented. All of a sudden we'd have one of the best OL in the league, which is good since Doug and Nate want to pound the rock.
Round 3 - Shayne Skov ILB Stanford - Scheme and value once again. Skov and Alonso would make such a perfect pair, their talents complement each other to a T - and they seem like they'd be BFFs off the field. Skov is physical and instinctual. He is a fantastic blitzer and is just always playing downhill - making lots of plays at the line or behind it. An instant starter on run downs - he will upgrade the run defense immensely.
Round 4 - James Wilder Jr. HB FSU - Here's a guy with all the physical talent in the world who has had some red flags during his playing career at FSU. Wilder is a linebacker playing HB, he punishes defenders, but has good enough athleticism to break long runs too. FredeX is getting up there and by giving him a raw but super talented kid like Wilder to take under his wing we could ease into life without Fred with a lot less anxiety.
Round 5 - Jeoffery Pagan DE Alabama - Ed stinson seems to get more attention, but Pagan has more upside. Still a bit on the raw side, he has unusual athleticism for a man his size. He would be a contributor right away and should transition into a starter in a couple years.
Round 6 - Colt Lyerla TE - A true head case if ever there was one. He may never step foot on an NFL field, but the talent is too tantalizing to turn away. Looking at Buffalo's 6th rounders over the years, its clear this round has never really given us a player who had much if any effect on our franchise. So taking a role of the dice on a possible coke head with some questionable morales and beliefs is worth it IMO, if we can get him to grow up and buy into the team concept - he has the talent to make pro bowls.
Round 7 - Cornelius Lucas - OT KState - A true giant amongst men, Lucas is one of the tallest and largest men in the draft. A true project player, but with his size he is worth taking a shot on, especially since he played a lot on school - so he isn't a completely raw prospect.
There you have it. My ideal off-season. I put a lot of value into both lines, as I feel that is where games are won and lost. We also add a true match-up nightmare and go to receiver in Evans. I went with athleticism and upside in the draft, we need more athletic freaks on the team. No immediate upgrade at TE, though who knows what the mercurial Lyerla will do or be, would anyone be shocked if he took the league by storm as a rookie? I wouldn't, I also wouldn't be shocked if he went to prison. The run defense got a lot of help and should catch up to the pass defense this year.
So what do you guys think?