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Free Agency, the Next Step to Lions Respectability

The NFL Free Agency period begins at midnight tonight. It is the next step for the Lions to take toward being respectable. It is an important step and one that will have huge ramifications on the upcoming NFL draft.

The Lions are expected to chase Defensive Ends and Running backs the hardest. In particular, the two defensive ends they are expected to talk to are Aaron Kampman of Green Bay and Kyle Vandan Bosch of Tennessee. If they can land one of these two, it will give them more leeway as to where they spend their upcoming draft picks. Many believe that the Lions might draft a DE in the 2nd or 3rd round. If they land Kampman or Vandan Bosch, they can use that early pick somewhere else.

The Runningback they seem interested in is Thomas Jones. Which to be honest is news to me since I just read something of that nature this morning. Yet this makes great sense. There are a lot of fans who are not real high on Thomas Jones, but you have to step back and look at this. Thomas Jones just might be one of the most under rated players in the league. In Arizona, Jones did not play much and did not play well. When the Bucs got him in 2003, he only got 137 carries but he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. They did not find him worthy and the next season he ended up in Chicago. In 14 games he had 948 yards and the following two seasons he ran for 1,335 yards and 1,210 yards. For some reason that was not good enough and in 2007 Jones started for the New York Jets. In three years there he has ran for 1,119 yards, 1,312 yards, and 1,402 yards. Yet that isn't good enough for them.

Thomas Jones has ran for 5 consecutive seasons of over 1,100 yards. In his last three years he has improve each of those years. Yes he is 31 years old and there is this general belief that a running back suddenly becomes worthless when he hits 30. Well Jones just ran for over 1,400 yards as a 30 year old. Until he actually shows he is slowing down, he is worth having on your team. If you are worried he is not fast enough, don't! In his last two seasons he has 14 carries of 20+ yards and 3 carries of 40+ yards. That is far better than what Kevin Smith has done, or Kevin Jones before him. The best part is that he is durable. Jones has not missed a game in his last four years.

Understandably, Jones is not the long term answer. Still, he is a very good running back who still has a couple years left in him. If the Lions do a good job drafting, they will be much more ready to draft an elite running back in the next couple of years to take over for Jones.

As it stands, there has been plenty of talk that the Lions could draft a RB in the second round and a DE in the 3rd round. If they can address both of those needs in free agency, then both of those rounds can be used for other positions like cornerback, left guard or safety. All things considered, the Lions could add good players at OL, RB, DT, DE, CB, and S. This would be with free agency and only the first four rounds of the draft. Tell me that would not help the Lions move back to respectability!

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