Whenever a cornerback is released in the NFL, the first fanbase that jumps on the “sign that guy!” wagon on social media is the Detroit Lions. So when former Kansas City Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers was released seemingly moments after the Lions cut long time starter Chris Houston, it was no surprise that the Lions were one of the first teams to be connected to the former 2nd round pick.
Despite several voices of reason, Flowers’ name continues to be linked to the Lions, who have had a revolving door at one or both CB spots for over a decade. It is this lack of impact from a single position that leads many to believe that Flowers, despite coming off his worst season as a pro, would be an immediate upgrade on the Lions roster.
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With that in mind, you’d think that Flowers was coming off a career season and was only cut for cap reasons. While it’s true that the Chiefs weren’t rolling in cap money, their depth at CB is dangerously thin and was so even with Flowers.
Like the Lions, there is plenty of talent there, but not a lot of experience or proven skill. While it’s likely that Sean Smith takes over Flowers’ position, he isn’t even a sure bet to do that. That puts the Chiefs in an even worse position than the Lions, who at least know that Slay and Mathis will be the next guys up.
While many in the national media think it’s a clear fit (CB needy team, big name at CB released, magic!), many that cover the Lions have taken a long enough look to know that Brandon Flowers is not a great fit for the team. With Slay and Mathis locked up on the outside, Flowers would be a nickel at best and that was one point of contention with his previous team.
Throw in his clear weakness as a press corner (Which the Lions hope to do more of) and man coverage (ditto to that), and you’re looking at as poor a match as recently released Chris Houston.
The concerns run deeper than just poor scheme fit. Flowers is notable for being one of the smallest starting CBs in the NFL. Measuring in at only 5’9″ (Average CB is 5’11”, average starting WR in the NFCN is 6’3″) and 189 lbs., it would be tough going for Brandon Flowers in any division, let alone one as WR heavy as the North.
It wouldn’t be as much of a liability if Flowers was fast, but his measurements across the board were poor when he was drafted and didn’t seem to improve through multiple injuries the past few seasons.
There are enough teams looking at Flowers that he should have no problem finding work in 2014. Considering how many teams are looking, and which teams there are, it’s unlikely the Lions could outbid with their severely limited cap space. It might just be that my fondest memory of Flowers is Calvin Johnson beating him for a TD on a play called “Calvin, you just run by everybody, all right?”