I'm just getting back from the flu, so only a short one tonight. (note: thanks for the update that mere minutes after posting my blog and sending in my answers to COS, my FA pick for the Lions to go after was signed by another team. Such is life.)
As the Lions have been addressing different positions in free agency, one thing they have quietly done is once again attempt to solidify the defensive backfield in free agency.
At Safetey, the Lions have Bullocks inked as one starter, but Alexander is a question mark due to his neck injury last season. This leaves Kalvin Pearson and Stu Schweigert to attempt to compete for the spot at this point (unless you think Lamarcus Hicks will be showing a sudden increase in skills.) I like Pearson as the 3rd Safety and he played very well on special teams. In a starting role, I really only want to see him in there situationally on running downs as he seems to be a good hitter, and as a rotational guy.
Depending on how the battles at CB turn out (more on that in a minute) I can also see Anthony Henry in the mix. If he moves to Safety, then I see him being a definite starter there. That gives the Lions some great cushion -- assuming their other CB acquisitions come through -- at Safety. Bullocks, despite the coaching woes, was really showing up as a solid safety after coming back from his knee injury. He is one of the few talented young defensive players the Lions can count on. If Alexander, who was had a great rookie year, is able to come back from his injury then the Lions would have Henry, Bullocks, Alexander and Pearson at S for now -- and that would be a solid rotation there.
That, of course, depends on how the CB situation works out. In my opinion (since Travis "I get dragged 10 yards even when I am anywhere near the intended receiver - which isn't very often" Fisher doesn't count in my mind...) the Lions have Fowler, Robinson, Buchanon, and Smith fighting as starters at this point (along with Henry). I'm not as down on Keith Smith as many, and think he is in a make-it or break it year. Same with Robinson, although his is more of a make it as a backup/ST or be out football vs making it as a starter, or ending your career as a backup.
As it stands, I'd say at least 2 out of Fowler, Buchanon and Smith will beat out Henry to start at CB. If they don't, then either they are way worse than I thought or Henry isn't slowing down as quick as I thought, or both. Since this is my projection, I have Henry moving to S and Fowler and Buchanon winning out as starters, with Robinson and Smith as the reserves (Along with Henry sliding over from S, of course).
Unlike last year's backfield fix, this year they did not sign a guy on his way downside (Kelly) -- but traded for a guy (Henry) who would have been starting at CB or S for Dallas. Buchanon isn't a top tier CB, but he was a starter in Tampa, they wanted him back - but as a 3rd CB to give a younger guy (sheesh - he's only 28!) a chance...
In regards to FA and the draft, depending on where they see Henry going the Lions may need either another CB or S in the draft/FA yet. (preferably one who returns kicks. Cason better not be on the final roster!) The key is, that the Lions should be able to pass in a fairly CB/S thin draft if they feel other players are better. This team isn't on the cusp of a Superbowl run -- they have so many holes that no matter what they do in the draft, they are going to have parts of the team that end up "good enough for now" going into next season.
At this point, I think the defensive backfield is one of them. BTW - if they sign Carr as a CB/PR/KR, then I think that is a clear sign that Henry is headed to S.