Detroit Lions: Ten Free Agents to target this offseason

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
10 of 11
Detroit Lions
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

NT Javon Hargrave

The Detroit Lions need plenty of help on their defensive line.  Javon Hargrave isn’t the perfect Matt Patricia fit, but he excelled last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after Stephon Tuitt missed time due to injury.

Hargrave is set for a significant payday, and he’s prepared himself for that after recently signing with super-agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Usually, Matt Patricia expects his nose tackles to be huge space eating players, the 350-pound type, but only the elite players that size also can rush the passer.  Hargrave is limber enough to split the double-team and get after the quarterback, a trait the Detroit Lions desperately need.

Hargrave has produced back to back stellar years, and at the perfect time for him and his family.  It’s unlikely the Steelers will be able to retain him, and his familiarity playing as a nose tackle in a 3/4 base defense will help him succeed with the Lions.

Last season PFF awarded him with his career-best 83.4 overall rating that also included a 77.2 grade against the run and a 76.8 pass-rushing mark.  Hargrave compiled 49 tackles, 4 sacks, an impressive 43 hurries, and only committed 1 penalty all year.

The Lions need to consider all options, but adding a reliable nose tackle that’s just 27 years old with plenty of tread left on the tires may be the second-best option to D.J. Reader.  Both are significant upgrades to A’Shawn Robinson and Mike Daniels.

Actually, both free-agent targets in this article performed much better than Damon Harrison this past season.  The best teams have stellar units in the trenches; I’d like to see Detroit start to focus on building inside out; this would be a great start.