One unexpected participant in last week’s Detroit Lions player organized workout was Dre Bly. With the need at cornerback left untouched in last month’s draft, some began to wonder if the Lions would be wise to include Bly in their plans.
Does Dre Bly really make sense for this team? I don’t think so, and the Lions have already told us as much.
Remember last summer? Dre Bly was in training camp with the Lions but was among the final cuts after the Lions acquired Alphonso Smith from the Denver Broncos. It is easy to view this move with the benefit of hindsight because Smith ended up having a decent year for the Lions but the truth is that Bly wasn’t displaced by him alone. Chris Houston was specifically brought in to start but Bly was also passed up for a roster spot by Jonathan Wade and Aaron Berry – an underachiever and an undrafted free agent.
The official week one starting lineup included Houston, Wade and Berry. Alphonso Smith moved into that third spot on the cornerback depth chart following Aaron Berry‘s season ending injury against the Bears. I tried to track the various movements at cornerback throughout the season. Gray areas represent the absence of a player, either through injury or performance, and the players are ordered such that the starters (as listed in the official game logs) are the first names that appear.
Anyone that followed the Lions late into the 2010 season knows the problems they had with cornerback depth by week 17. There are a lot of different names that appear on the list of cornerbacks that saw action for the Lions last year, including Eric King and Paul Pratt. Those two were also among the final training camp cuts. Perhaps Dre Bly turned down an invitation to join the team late in the year. As a veteran he has certainly earned the right to pick and choose the situations that most appeal to him.
Assuming the Lions retain Chris Houston, the Lions seem to have four cornerback spots locked down by Houston, Alphonso Smith, Nathan Vasher and Aaron Berry. Three players that beat Bly out for a roster spot last year and one other player that played well enough after signing with the Lions to do the same. If Dre Bly wasn’t a good fit for the team last year when expectations and enthusiasm were so much lower, why would he be now?