Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
His pocketbook will be a bit lighter after the Jaguars game, but Couplin has cemented himself pretty firmly as the Detroit Lions 3rd best Safety. Couplin plays with reckless abandon and has no qualms against taking someone out full force. This worked against him this week as he incurred a penalty for a helmet to helmet hit, the source of a likely fine, but Couplin has made his name known league-wide as someone who will hit and that’s valuable.
There are very serious flaws to his game, most dealing with his instincts in the passing game and diagnosing plays, but nothing that can’t be learned. He has a lot of work to go, and it’s highly unlikely he could start in a pinch even at strong safety, but he is poised to make the roster as an undrafted free agent on a team that spent money to shore up that position the past two seasons.
Part of the reason Couplin is able to stand out so much is the general ineptitude of the Lions reserve safeties. Isa Abdul-Quddus has been fine in coverage, but has done little to distinguish himself since netting a pick in the first preseason game. The worst safety of the bunch in training camp by far was Don Carey and the tenured veteran has done nothing to counter that image in the preseason.
The Lions saw fit to extend Carey this off-season, likely due to his versatility as a safety and nickel defender as well as his special teams ability. That doesn’t mean much if he can’t deliver on the field and Carey has been the worst defender on the entire team, surprising many that he wasn’t among the first round of cuts.