Lions Sign Veteran Safety to Roster

Marcus Gilchrist

Getty Marcus Gilchrist reacts after a 2018 interception.

The Detroit Lions made a bold move to trade safety Quandre Diggs a few days ago, and they have added some safety depth to the roster after the fact.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, veteran safety Marcus Gilchrist is signing with the team. The team quickly confirmed. Gilchrist, 30, has played in the league since he was a second round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2011 out of Clemson. Since then, he has bounced around three teams, putting up fairly decent stats for a journeyman player.

Detroit, obviously, wanted one more player to add to the mix at safety. Even though the Lions have Tracy Walker and Will Harris in addition to veteran Tavon Wilson, Gilchrist comes in and will have to play that role for the team. The Lions had previously worked him out this week.

What Gilchrist Brings

In addition to filling an almost immediate hole for the Lions defensively, Gilchrist has decent stats through the years, putting up 495 tackles, 14 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 4 sacks and 38 pass deflections. He’s played in a variety of schemes, and a word that comes to mind is stability.

Detroit won’t be getting anything elite from Gilchrist, but they will be getting a guy who can come in and fill a void immediately in order to give the Lions some solid snaps. After a major trade, that’s what plenty of teams look for.

Walker, Wilson and Harris will likely still get the bulk of work, but Gilchrist will be able to provide some support to the back end if needed in the meantime, which is why the Lions brought him into the mix so soon after the Diggs move.

More Moves Needed, Possible

Theoretically, the Lions have replaced Diggs with the guys already on the roster and now Gilchrist. That doesn’t change the fact that the team has to look at a few other upgrades, particularly at the spots of pass rusher and running back.

Now that Kerryon Johnson is gone for a while, the Lions will have to respond at that spot given their roster is dotted with inconsistent bit parts. Ty Johnson is a rookie and has never shouldered a major backfield load, while J.D. McKissic is more of a pass catching back rather than a north and south runner.

While Matt Patricia has maintained the Lions could roll with a committee approach and Paul Perkins was added to the roster, it’s not wise to entrust Detroit’s backfield to a rookie and a player who is more accustomed to catching the rock than running with it. Instead, the Lions likely need to look outside the organization for a move in order to boost a depleted ground game.

At edge, the Lions haven’t gotten to the quarterback enough, which is just one of many defensive concerns. Adding someone who can pressure the pocket should be a goal, even if it’s not a bombshell move.

Are the Lions done? Probably not, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who feels the team could still be buyers at the deadline even after the Diggs move. Birkett hinted after the addition of Gilchrist that Detroit could still become involved in the trade market, even as prices were a bit high.

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