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O'Hara's all-free agent team: Defense

This is the all-time defensive team for the Detroit Lions since the NFL adopted unfettered free agency for players in 1993.

The previous installment picked the all-time offensive team. All players selected must be veteran free agents who were signed during the offseason. Players who were cut and signed during the season are not included.

Also, it should be noted that many veterans such as backup quarterback Shaun Hill and Rob Sims, a five-year starter at left guard, were acquired in trades in 2010 and are not eligible.

Players selected were signed from 1993-2015.


DE Jason Jones (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Defense end: Jason Jones (2013-15) -- A knee injury cut his 2013 season to three games. After that he was a steady, productive presence at left end with the added value of being able to move inside to tackle to add a pass-rusher.

Defensive end: Kyle Vanden Bosch (2010-12) -- He provided instant leadership and was a model for young players. His best season as a Lion was 2011 – eight sacks and four forced fumbles to help lead the Lions to a 10-6 record and a wild-card playoff berth.

Other DEs: George Johnson (2015); Dewayne White (2007-09).

Defensive tackle: Henry Thomas (1995-96) -- After nine seasons with the Vikings he immediately added an interior pass-rusher with 10.5 sacks in '95. A scheme change ended his tenure in Detroit after two seasons, but he made an impact.

Defensive tackle: – James Jones (1999-2000) -- Another two-year pickup who was a good fit for the scheme. Jones had a career-high seven sacks in '99 and helped free up Luther Elliss to make two Pro Bowls.

Other DTs: Dan Wilkinson (2003-05); C.J. Mosley (2013-14).

Outside linebacker: Allen Aldridge (1998-2001) Nothing flashy, just a reliable, steady defender who played all 64 games over two years on both the weak side and strong side.

Outside linebacker: Broderick Thomas (1994) -- Impact trumps longevity with this pick. He was signed late in the offseason with the expectation he would be in Detroit for only one year, and he gave the Lions an outside pass-rusher and strong run defender. He had seven sacks on a defense that had only 28.

Middle linebacker: Stephen Tulloch (2011-15) -- Originally signed because of his connection to previous head coach Jim Schwartz in Tennessee, Tulloch was a five-year starter in the middle.

Other LBs: Mike Johnson (1994-95); Earl Holmes (2003-05); Scott Kowalkowski (1994-2001); Pepper Johnson (1996).

Cornerback: Dre Bly (2003-06) -- A big-time producer in a small package (5-10, 188), Bly used great hands and instincts to intercept 19 passes and force 12 fumbles. He made two Pro Bowls in four seasons in Detroit.

Cornerback: Fernando Bryant (2004-07) – Injuries cost him some playing time, but for his first three years he teamed with Bly to give the Lions two experienced cornerbacks.

Other CBs: Todd Lyght (2001-02); Corey Raymond (1995-97); Robert Bailey (1997-99); Rashean Mathis, 2013-15.

Safety:Mark Carrier (1997-99) -- He was a playmaker and instant upgrade in the deep secondary, with five interceptions on the '97 playoff team and 11 in his three seasons as a Lion.

Safety: Glover Quin (2012-15) -- One of the Lions' best free agents at any position. He has 14 interceptions in three years and led the NFL with seven in 2014. He turned 30 in January and still should have a few good years left.

Other safeties: Kurt Schulz (2000-01); Kenoy Kennedy (2005-07); James Ihedigbo (2014-15); Isa Abdul-Qudus (2014-15).

Punter:John Jett (1997-2003) -- He was a solid, steady performer until a leg injury sustained in practice before Game 5 of the 2003 season ended his career.

Other punter: Mark Royals (1995-96).

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