With everyone throughout the NFL clamoring to find the next Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, or Brandon Browner the Lions quietly might have done just that. You have to understand, none of the aforementioned names came into the NFL as the products they are today. Both Sherman and Chancellor were fifth round picks, while Browner was an undrafted free agent–which leads me to Jerome Couplin III, one of the more intriguing Detroit Lions undrafted free agents.
According to Chiefs Spin, during the 2013 season, “Couplin accumulated 113 tackles (70 solo, 2.5 for loss), six pass break-ups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery, which he returned 51 yards for a touchdown. His 5.8 solo tackles per game ranked 11th nationally and led all defensive backs in the Colonial Athletic Association league.”
Couplin has outstanding measurables. At his pro day at William & Mary he ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, benched 18 reps, had a vertical jump of 41.5 inches. had a broad jump over over 11 feet, ran a 4.41 short shuttle, and did the three-cone drill in 6.94 seconds–all while standing 6’ 2” and weighing in at 215 pounds.
Those measurables compare favorably to Kam Chancellor’s when he was coming out of Virginia Tech.
|6 ft 3 in||231 lb||4.59 s||4.41 s||7.36 s||32 in||9 ft 9 in||22 reps|
|6 ft 2 in||215 lb||4.50 s||4.41 s||6.94 s||41.5 in||11 ft 2 in||18 reps|
Where He Fits
It’s now up to the Detroit Lions coaching staff to take those measurables and refine them. Couplin played at a small school, but has experience against bigger programs like Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. The Lions haven’t been able to develop their young secondary talent in recent years, but I have faith that Teryl Austin will be able to get the most out of the guys he has on the roster.
I think it’s going to be tough for him to beat out guys like DeJon Gomes or Isa Abdul-Quddus for the fifth safety spot, but he’s a perfect candidate for the Lions to stash on their practice squad like they did after drafting Chris Greenwood a few years ago.
I look forward to seeing how he adapts to the NFL. He has everything teams are looking for in a modern-day safety.