Detroit Lions: Ten Free Agents to target this offseason

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
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MLB Blake Martinez

Blake Martinez, to say it simple, is a tackling machine.  He’s coming off of a career-high 155 tackles.  He’d be an excellent upgrade to Jarrad Davis in the middle of the Detroit Lions defense.  He’s not a perfect Matt Patricia linebacker, but either is Davis.

Patricia generally expects his linebackers to be big and bulky; take Dont’a Hightower, for example.  He’s 6’3 and weighs in at about 260 pounds.  Martinez is 6’2 but nearly 25 pounds lighter.  Not perfect, but his willingness to tackle makes for an intriguing candidate to be signed.

In recent years the Detroit Lions signed T.J. Lang and Mike Daniels from their NFC North rival Packers, I wouldn’t rule out bringing in Martinez.

The Green Bay Packers are a franchise known to focus on re-signing their own but failing to overpay for high-end free agents.  Martinez is coming off of a phenomenal season but struggled mightily in Green Bay’s playoff game against the run-heavy San Francisco 49ers a couple of months ago.

Remember that game?  The 49ers were able to run the football play after play, leaving the Packers helpless.  Not a good look for any defense, but also a terrible look for a tackling middle linebacker.

Although Martinez has been a tackling maniac throughout his career, he struggles to defend the run overall.  Most of his tackles have been on the ‘wrong’ side of the line of scrimmage.  He does have plenty of success rushing the passer recording 3 sacks last season.  Martinez earned himself a 58.7 overall grade (PFF) last season, and to compare Davis’ was an abysmal 40.4.

While Martinez wouldn’t be the perfect addition, he’d undoubtedly be an upgrade.  Detroit won’t sign a bunch of perfect players, no franchise will, there isn’t enough money, but the team needs to continue to search for parts.  They need value-type depth players to put with high-end talent.  Martinez, at 26, years-old still has the potential to excel in the right system.