Mayhew comments on all three of the Lions' free agent aquisitions

Posted Mar 28, 2012

Palm Beach, Fla. -- It's no secret the Lions are now looking for value after signing all of their key free agents in the first two weeks of free agency.

"Trying to find value in free agency is hard to do," Mayhew told local reporters Tuesday down at the NFL league meetings in Florida. "But we're looking at guys that are out there. We've had conversations with several players that have been to our facility, and we're still in dialogue with some of those guys, and we'll see what happens. We're still in the market, and we're still looking."

Safety O.J. Atogwe and linebacker Tim Shaw are two of those players who have visited and remain a possibility to sign with the Lions.

The team has signed three players who were not on the roster last year: cornerback Jacob Lacey, defensive end Everette Brown and fullback James Bryant.

Mayhew spoke publicly for the first time about all three on Tuesday.

Lacey, 24, has started 27 games for the Colts over the last three seasons playing primarily left corner. He had 72 tackles and one interception in 15 games with the Colts last season.

"Lacey is a really good tackler. It's rare you talk to a corner and ask him, ‘What do you do best?' and he says, 'Tackle.'

"That's what Lacey told me when we sat down to talk. I like the way the guy plays. He's very physical. He's a really good zone defender. He has been a starter and started in big games and made big plays in big situations."

Mayhew said Lacey is expected to come in and compete for a starting corner spot.

Brown was a second-round pick by the Panthers in 2009 out of Florida State. He recorded six sacks in two seasons with the team before they released him in final cuts last September.

Mayhew, also a Florida State grad, joked to reporters that the thing that stuck out the most about Brown was that he went to a university that "nurtures young men and creates great football players."

Mayhew received the desired chuckles.

"We worked him out last year during the season when we had the injuries at defensive end and ended up not signing him. This is a great guy," he said.

"We liked him coming out in the draft. He hadn't put it all together yet, but we'll see how he does. We think our scheme is going to fit him. He has a lot of speed and athleticism so I think he fits our system. We'll see how it goes."

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday that Brown reminded him of a young Cliff Avril.

Bryant is a fullback who was discovered by Lions running backs coach Sam Gash at Miami's Pro Day this year. He's previously bounced around the CFL.

"I give Sam Gash all the credit for that. I didn't know who he was," Mayhew said. "Sam went down to Miami's Pro Day and he really impressed Sam down there. We brought him up for a workout, had the whole pro (personnel) department out there and the coaching staff and he showed a lot of athletic ability.

"As a guy playing the fullback position, when you work them out, you can't really see them block somebody or a lot of the physical part of the game, but everything else he has."