Aaron Berry had been the presumed starting cornerback opposite Chris Houston heading into training camp but that changed quickly when the team decided to release Berry following a second arrest.
Who would step in as the starter is one of the biggest question marks that needs to be resolved during training camp. But if running with the other starters on day one is any indications, Alphonso Smith appears to have the inside track to claiming the starting role.
It makes sense considering Smith is the remaining corner with experience and a familiarity with the coaching staff. Smith has made big plays in the Lions’ secondary before, albeit with maddening inconsistency and seemingly just as many lowlights as highlights (Thanksgiving 2010, anyone?).
Jacob Lacey has experience but is still new to the team and appears penciled in as the nickel back after spending considerable time there during OTAs.
It would have been a surprise had the Lions opened camp with starter’s reps for either of their three rookie corners – Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood (who is not participating yet due to his place on the PUP list) and Jonte Green. The Lions haven’t made a habit of plugging in young players from day one. Even Matthew Stafford had to beat out Daunte Culpepper before the Lions truly became his team. Still, with a solid camp, one could supplant Alphonso Smith by the time the regular season arrives.
The cornerback battle for roster spots was set to be a fierce one, that has only intensified now that a starting spot is also up for grabs. Will Alphonso Smith keep his grasp on the job or will one of the youngsters step up and snatch it away?