Grades for Lions' Offseason Acquisitions

Vito Chirco hands out his grades for the acquisitions made so far by the Lions this offseason
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Detroit had a laundry list of needs going into the start of the legal tampering period this past Monday at noon EST.

The franchise's general manager Bob Quinn had to be busy. And to his credit, he went to work right away in trying to revamp a team that finished a dismal 3-12-1 a season ago.

At this juncture, the Lions have acquired a combined eight players -- seven via free agency and one via trade.

All of the transactions -- in some fashion or another -- have reflected the organization's attempt to build a roster that closely adheres to the demands of Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia both on and off the field.

Here are our Vito Chirco's grades for the additions made so far: 

RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai 

Grade: C

There's only room for one "Big V" in this town -- yours truly. But, on a serious note, this acquisition left many Lions fans scratching their heads. He's never started a full season's worth of games. And the most games he's ever started in a single season is 10 -- which came back in 2017. 

Sure, he'll only be 27 come the start of the 2020 regular season -- he turns 27 on June 16 -- and could, in fact, be entering the prime of his career. However, I wouldn't have spent $45 million on him -- even though only $20 million of it is fully guaranteed and all through 2021, according to Spotrac

I, instead, would've opted for former Michigan State walk-on and a more highly proven offensive tackle in Jack Conklin -- the 10th-highest graded OT in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus. The Browns inked him to a three-year, $42M deal, with $30M in guaranteed money -- only $10M more than the guaranteed "green" that Vaitai will receive.

It's why the best grade I could give this acquisition was a "C."  

LB Jamie Collins 

Grade: B

Collins is a nice veteran linebacker with serious Patriots ties. He spent parts of five years in New England, and experienced a major bounce-back campaign in 2019 while donning a Patriots uni. However, he was largely unproductive in two-and-a-half years with Cleveland. So, the verdict is still out on whether he can be productive outside of New England. And it's the reason why I couldn't give the acquisition an "A," and opted for the "B" mark instead.   

DT Nick Williams 

Grade: B-

Williams is a decent pass rusher that recorded six sacks a year ago with the Bears. However, he's never been a full-time starter in his career, and is already 30 years old. As a result, it's not likely that his best football is ahead of him. He gets a "B-" from me.  

QB Chase Daniel 

Grade: B

He's a decent backup quarterback, but he's only started five games after 10 years in the league. Sure, he's better than last year's backups in Jeff Driskel and David Blough. However, he's no true threat to longtime Lions passer Matthew Stafford, and it's why I couldn't give the addition anything better than a "B" mark.    

NT Danny Shelton

Grade: A

This is the Lions' best acquisition so far this offseason. Quinn & Co. needed to find a replacement for Damon "Snacks" Harrison along the interior of the defensive line, and did so in adding the 26-year-old Shelton. They inked him to a cost-effective two-year, $8M deal. The former Patriot finished with three sacks and 61 tackles -- both career-high marks -- a year ago. A quality addition on the cheap, and it's why it deserves an "A" grade.     

S Duron Harmon 

Grade: A-

The former Patriot has played a lot of free safety in his time in the NFL. In fact, according to PFF, he's lined up in the regular season at the position 91.5 percent of the time since 2015.

And along the way, he's earned a 92.6 coverage grade at FS -- tied for sixth-best among safeties.

As our Logan Lamorandier tweeted out, he's also recorded 10 interceptions since 2017 -- tied for the fifth-most among safeties during that span.  

Quinn & Co. traded a fifth-rounder in this year's draft to land him and a seventh-rounder in April's draft. A nice, low-key move that could pay dividends for the Lions' safety group as the 2020 season progresses.

CB Desmond Trufant 

Grade: B-

The veteran cornerback -- a first-round pick of the Falcons in the 2013 draft -- has had a solid career. But, his best football is likely behind him, as he'll be 30 come the start of the 2020 campaign. 

He ended 2019 with a career-high four interceptions, but only played in nine games. 

From all accounts, he's Detroit's replacement for the departing Darius Slay. And although he's no Slay, he should be a competent successor for the duration of the two-year, $21M deal -- $14M guaranteed -- he inked with the Lions. 

S Jayron Kearse 

Grade: B

The former seventh-round pick of the Vikings has some serious size to him. He stands in at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, which gives him an upper hand in guarding bigger receivers and tight ends.  

He recorded the fourth-highest grade for safeties in 2019, according to PFF.

And he was definitely worth the one-year, $2.75 million contract Detroit handed out to acquire him.

Overall grade for Quinn: B

Nothing real sexy about Detroit's acquisitions so far. But, Quinn & Co. have picked up some decent players in trying to overhaul the roster. And I think they deserve a "B" for their work.  


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