When he signed with Jacksonville two years ago, Jared Odrick's name would often pop up as a potential free-agent candidate for the Detroit Lions. Now, two years later, Odrick is once again available after the Jaguars released him Monday.
And once again, the Lions should investigate the defensive lineman.
Odrick, 29, wouldn’t be the sexiest signing. But as long as he’s healthy -- he had shoulder and elbow injuries last season -- he would be a fit for Detroit's aggressive front four that prides itself on rotation and versatility. Odrick could come at the right price, too, as he is coming off injuries. He had been fairly durable before.
He has played both tackle and end in a 4-3 defense. In Jacksonville, he played end in a 3-4 defense. Considering how the Lions use their defensive linemen, that would make him a candidate for Detroit. The Lions under coordinator Teryl Austin have often moved ends inside to tackle in pass-rush situations. They’ve also lined tackles up outside of defensive ends.
Players like Jason Jones, Devin Taylor and Kerry Hyder have all been moved inside and outside under Austin with the Lions, and as of now, Hyder is the only one of the three expected to be on the roster in 2017.
It’s well-known the Lions need to pick up their pass rush, and though Odrick has never had huge sack numbers, he has three seasons of five-plus sacks in his career, including 5.5 sacks in 2015 with the Jaguars.
He’s also a player who can set the edge as a run defender for Detroit, something the Lions would need opposite Ezekiel Ansah. His veteran presence would also be a help on a defensive line that could once again go through a transition between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Taylor, Armonty Bryant, Stefan Charles and Tyrunn Walker are all unrestricted free agents. Khyri Thornton is a restricted free agent.
So there are a bunch of holes to fill for the Lions, and Odrick would have the flexibility to fill multiple spots.
Then there’s something else with Odrick, too, something that might make the Lions attractive to him. NFL Nation Jaguars writer Mike DiRocco reported some of Odrick’s off-field interests -- acting and writing -- caused "minor friction" in DiRocco’s words, with the Jaguars.
That won’t be an issue in Detroit. Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has often shown he’s willing to have a multitude of personalities with varying viewpoints in his locker room as long as their character is high. The best example of that would be DeAndre Levy, who has been outspoken against the NFL regarding CTE. Levy also spends time bringing attention to the issue of sexual assault and doing offseason adventures like wing-walking on a plane and sliding down a volcano. Anquan Boldin and Glover Quin are other Lions who have been comfortable offering their viewpoints and have been treated well in the Detroit locker room. Lions safety Don Carey is an aspiring author and former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch published a children's book while he was employed by the team.
Caldwell has often said he wants players to be able to speak their mind and he often wants to hear the points of view of players if they are choosing to take a stance. So the Lions' locker room would likely be a place where Odrick would fit in well.
So this is something that, if both sides were interested, could be a potential match and something Detroit should consider as it heads into the free agency period.