Detroit Lions training camp is just around the corner, which means position battles, cuts, and much more. While we wait for the start of camp, Aaron Meckes and I will preview each position group and give predictions of who you’ll see starting in the Honolulu Blue come week one.
The secondary has been abysmal the last two seasons. At the safety position the only reliable player when he was on the field was Louis Delmas. Unfortunately, Delmas was hardly ever on the field and younger players who weren’t as polished had to step in like Don Carey and Ricardo Silva.
Let’s take a look at what the Lions did this offseason to improve their roster at the safety position:
1. Louis Delmas- Delmas is one of the most instinctual and energetic players I’ve seen at the safety position. If he could stay healthy he could be a top ten defensive player in the league and the intensity he brings to his teammates on defense is invaluable. The problem with Delmas is he has yet to start all 16 games in four seasons in the NFL.
2. Chris Hope- Hope brings 20 career interceptions to the Lions in his 11 year stint in the NFL. The question with Hope is how much he has left in the tank. The Lions likely signed hope as insurance in case Delmas isn’t able to play a full 16 game season.
3. Ricardo Silva- Silva is one of my favorite Lions. He’s got all the tools to be an elite safety with great size 6’2, 190 lbs, and runs around a 4.6 in the forty yard dash. In 2013, his first official season after just missing the Lions roster in 2012, he recorded his first interception after starting only six games and playing in ten. If Silva can continue to develop and Delmas finds himself in another injury plagued season, Silva could be the future for the Lions at free safety.
4. John Wendling- Wendling is a special teams ace, a sure tackler, and a leader on the Lions roster that will provide solid minutes in case of injury . Last season Wendling was voted a team captain in 2012.
1. Glover Quin- One of the Lions top free agent acquisitions, Quin will be the starter at strong safety from day one. Entering his fifth season Quin has five interceptions and 251 tackles. While his interception numbers might not wow you, his consistency and ability to stay on the field is exactly what the Lions need in the secondary.
2. Amari Spievey- Spievey has played well in his tenure in Detroit registering two interceptions his rookie season and three in his sophmore season. In 2012 however Spievey suffered a series of concussion injuries and hardly saw time one the field.
3. Don Carey- I’m as high on Carey as I am on Ricardo Silva. Carey may not start, but he could push Spievey for the second spot the depth chart and provide solid minutes if Quin missed time due to injury. In nine games last season Carey registered two interceptions.
Martavius Neloms, undrafted rookie from Kentucky, and Tyrell Johnson have are long shots to make the 53-man roster and will likely stick around as practice squad players. However, there’s always an opportunity given to suit up given the Lions’ inability to stay healthy in the secondary the past two seasons.
Outlook: The 2013 Lions look much better at safety than the 2012 thanks to the signings of veterans Chris Hope and Glover Quin and the maturation of younger players like Don Carey and Ricardo Silva. If the Lions hope to make a deep playoff run or at the least make the playoffs, the Lions must have Louis Delmas and Glover Quin stay healthy.