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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs will keep an eye on Lions' moves



It's been an interesting start to free agency in Detroit, where the Lions already are reported to have reached a deal with receiver Nate Burleson and agreed to a trade that would land Cleveland defensive tackle Corey Williams. Also, coach Jim Schwartz reportedly was at the home of Titans free agent defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch as the clock struck midnight and the Lions appear to be the favorite to land him.

And why should any of this matter to the Bucs?

Because the Lions pick second in the NFL draft, one slot ahead of Tampa Bay. If all this comes to pass, Detroit will have made significant strides in improving its woeful defense, at least up front. That means they could have less incentive to draft one of the two top defensive linemen coming out of college -- Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy. Theoretically, then, one of them would fall to Tampa Bay, something that is sure to thrill the Bucs.

Addressing their defensive line needs in free agency will allow the Lions to at least consider a pick like offensive tackle Russell Okung from Oklahoma State. He would certainly aid the development of Detroit's biggest investment, quarterback Matt Stafford, the 2009 top overall pick.

But there's something else we should take into consideration here, which was astutely pointed out by ESPN's Chris Mortensen. He thinks the defensive line moves make the Lions more likely to draft Suh over McCoy because Suh can seamlessly switch between either tackle position (Williams would be a traditional 3 technique tackle and wouldn't switch positions). And it's hard to argue the Lions could be too defense-heavy in their acquisitions this offseason after fielding the league's worst defense two years in a row.

Whatever the case, these moves by the Lions warrant some examination from the Bucs because they likely will influence what happens in Tampa Bay on draft day.

Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:56pm]


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