The Detroit Lions obviously saw something in Chris Greenwood when they moved up ten spots in the 5th round of the 2012 draft to get him. Greenwood was extremely raw coming out of Albion College, but he was also full of potential. This is a make or break season for Greenwood. He’s coming into his third season and as Martin Mayhew said in his pre-draft press conference, referring to cornerbacks, “If you don’t have it in three years, you don’t have it.”
|Profile ||2013 Stats* |
Size & Speed
Chris Greenwood is a tall, physical freak of an athlete. What the Lions need to do is take those raw abilities and hone them into a freak football player, not just an athlete. Greenwood took some big steps last season, particularly after spending time with the Dallas Cowboys. Jeff Risdon of DetroitLionsDraft.com had some insights on this earlier this offseason:
I talked to a Cowboys staffer about Greenwood and what his impression of the strapping corner was during his brief time in Dallas. He told me they could see the light bulb start to come on for Greenwood. He was very receptive to their coaching staff and style, which was a lot more user-friendly and supportive than what Greenwood got in Detroit.
Greenwood has excellent straight line speed. If the Lions are planning on playing more press coverage this season, Chris Greenwood has a chance to absolutely flourish with his ability to turn and run with receivers down the field.
Here, he does a great job of jamming the receiver at the line of scrimmage, turning, and running with the receiver. Eli Manning is clearly trying to test Greenwood deep on this play, but he does an excellent job of staying step for step with Rueben Randle, and forcing a tough catch attempt.
This is clearly Greenwood’s weakest attribute. His inexperience and low level college competition are currently working against him. He has to be able to read and react to what’s happening around him rather think while he’s on the field. At times last season you could clearly see Greenwood was over his head.
Greenwood tries to do too much. He’s in man coverage on the outside. His responsibility should be to follow the receiver as he runs the deep in route, but he gets baited into following the underneath receiver. The result is a big gain late in the game. These are the types of mental mistakes Chris Greenwood needs to eliminate to be an effective player in the NFL.
He does a good job here of recognizing the play and reacting well to what he’s seeing. The Giants try to set up essentially a wide receiver screen in the middle of the field. Greenwood recognizes the route and makes a nice play to bring up fourth down.
Agility & Technique
Greenwood has actually gotten better with his technique since entering the NFL. That’s to be expected, and I fully believe he’ll continue to improve his technique as he gets better coaching with the new coaching staff. It’s no secret I blame the previous coaching regime for failing to develop their young talent at cornerback.
Greenwood is excellent at flipping his hips and sticking with the receiver in coverage. He also has pretty good technique when jamming receivers and being physical on the line of scrimmage.
Chris Greenwood won’t get the sack on the stat sheet, but he helped Ezekiel Ansah get his eighth sack of the season on this play. Eli Manning once again wants to test Greenwood deep, but his turn and run ability is picture perfect on this play. Greenwood takes away Manning’s one read, and the play results in a sack.
His technique still needs refinement though, and he has to get more consistent in his play if he want to earn more playing time.
Here Greenwood gets sloppy in his technique. He tries to jam Jerome Simpson at the line of scrimmage but gets abused early in the route. He fails to get into Simpson and disrupt the route. Thankfully for Greenwood, Matt Cassel was slow to pull the trigger and the play ended up being a sack rather than a huge gain down the field.
His size alone makes him an imposing defender on the edge. He’s a willing tackler who breaks down and makes plays on the sideline, effectively coming up to make a plays on swing passes or quick slants without getting burnt.
*Stats provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required)