With Daniel Loper signed -- he can play both OG spots, and both OT spots in a pinch -- the Lions have now signed 3 offensive linemen to fill their 2 OG spots. Tenesse wanted him back, so there must be something there.
I don't think they are done yet. Let me amend -- I don't foresee any more O-Line signings in FA, but I do foresee at least one O-line pick in the draft. Position and when? Ummm...that, I am not sure of yet. But let me explain why I think this is, and the two directions I can see the Lions going in...
First off, lets establish a couple of things. Matt Birk was signed almost as soon as he hit FA and the Vikings stalled in talks. This is good for the Lions -- he is a great center. Jeff Saturday, despite aging a little, was re-signed as a priority impending FA in Indy. Good starting Centers in the NFL are hard to find, and despite some fan feelings Dom is a good NFL center. Are there better? Yes. Are there worse? LOTS.
Gosder is a solid RT. Management believes, as do I, that Backus is at least adequate at LT with a good LG next to him. That "adequate" does leave him a bit open, but on a team where there are still spots that are "no player on roster" adequate can do for now.
In my mind, then, the Lions heading into FA were totally set at C and RT. There was also no way they were spending on a Backus-level talent in FA, so LT was also set for the draft. Other than the 3 starters, the only real OG on the roster is the untested M. Ramierez. No backup C, and no backup OT either. I didn't see them spending out for Brown or Birk, so no C in FA. That leaves OG/OT players.
First off, the sign Peterman who did okay in the all zone scheme, but should be well suited to more of a power game. He and Gosder were starting to work up some real chemistry along the right side of that line, including with Dom and K. Smith. Runs to the right went well with that 4-some, so I am good they brought Peterman back. At least he is a starting caliber RG in the NFL. They could have done much worse.
The next two signings -- Cook and Loper -- are to compete at this point to start at LG with an edge to Loper at this point, as the only thing keeping him on the bench in Tenn was their dominant starting Oline and a lack of injuries. The Titans really wanted him back, but he came to Detroit on a one-year "I'll prove it to you" deal rather than go to one of the other teams courting him, a couple of which were said to be offering up longer term contracts. Cook is more of a swing player -- a backup you can plug in at a position of need for a couple of games and be okay, but whom you don't want starting long term. He was signed as such -- to be a backup.
At this point, then, your opening day starters would likely go L-R:
Cook: backs up Cherilus at RT, Cherilus is primary LT backup. An injury to Cherilus or Backus would put Cook in at RT, or Loper to RT and Cook in at LG.
ManRam: Backup OG at this point, depending on how well he competes in camp.
But I said they would do one of two things, and both involve drafting a lineman, didn't I? I don't think the heavy signings of OG who have multiple position flexibility poses a good sign for ManRam. Peterman impressed enough to get a new deal. Ramierez may be history. So I see the Lions taking either a LT early, or an OG/C at the top of 2 or in 3, depending on who is available where.
If they go LT at one, then Backus and the rook will be in the LG/LT competition with high stakes for Backus to win out at LG. That will likely bump one of the backups -- Cook or Ramirez, off the roster.
Personally, I think the signings point in a different direction than LT at #1, or even #20 unless a guy like Oher somehow falls. I see them taking a great prospect at #33, or with #65 who can play OG/C. This would mean they have their primary backup for an important position playing on the line - C. I see it breaking out as follows:
Backus -- OG-C Pick/Loper/Peterman -- Raiola -- Peterman/Loper -- Cherilus
Cook and the Peterman/Loper/Draft Pick loser as backup. This is why I'm leaning more to a combo guy in the top of the third if one is still available since they may not win out a starting job. A 2nd round pick means Loper and Peterman will be fighting for starter/backup and ManRam will be fighting for a job. Either way, Cook stays on as the backup OT/G who is likely inactive most game days.
This also takes you to what I am thinking about the top of the draft: It's Stafford or Curry. Which is the bigger gamble? More knowledgeable football minds than mine will be making that call, and I'm glad it's not me.