Our Detroit Lions training camp preview rolls on with the cornerbacks. Aaron Meckes and I have been previewing each position group with predictions of who you’ll see starting in the Honolulu Blue come Week one. The Lions have an interesting group of corners whose potential exceeds their experience.
Here’s how the cornerback depth chart should shape out by the start of the 2013 season:
1. Chris Houston- No surprises here, Houston was the most consistent corner for the Lions last season and is the only corner that we no has secured his spot on the depth chart in 2013
2. Darius Slay- The Lions used a second round pick on Slay in the past draft and will give him every opportunity to start. After undergoing a knee surgery to repair his torn meniscus Slay has proven to be a play maker intercepting multiple passes in OTAs. If he continues his performance in training camp there should be no doubt that Slay is a week one starter.
3. Bill Bentley- Bentley may not have the size the Lions covet and will likely no be used to start along the outside if injuries occur in the top two spots on the depth chart, but his field vision and skillset are the perfect compliments for a nickle cornerback where he should start.
4. Ron Bartell- Being fourth on the depth chart is a bit misleading. If Chris Greenwood doesn’t step up in training camp and in preseason games, Bartell should be the first man up if Slay or Houston find themselves out with injuries.
5. Chris Greenwood- Greenwood has a chance to fill Bartell’s role on the roster if he can transition his 6’1, 200 lbs frame and 4.3 speed to the NFL level. Experience seems to be the only thing holding Greenwood back at this point. If he plans to see the field this season he will have to develop quickly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Greenwood has all the tools to be one of the best corners in the league. I believe the Lions plan on Slay and Greenwood to be their cornerbacks of the future.
6. Jonte Green- Green had an up and down rookie season, which is expected for a sixth round pick who shouldn’t have had to start in his rookie season. The Lions may not have wanted to play Green so soon, but the experience he gained was evident as improved with each passing week. He should be a valuable depth player for the Lions if he sees the field this season and for he future.
The Lions cornerbacks are extremely raw as a whole, but very talented. I have no doubt that their young corners they drafted the past two seasons can be productive in the NFL, it’s just a question of when that happens. If the Lions hope to return to the playoffs they really need the younger players, particularly Slay and Bentley to play well this season as they are primed for important roles in 2013.