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A Detroit Lions draft need for decades now, I’m one of the few who rarely predicts a first round defensive back. Yet here the Lions are with the #1 defense and the potential to send DBs to the pro bowl and I’m now predicting one early? Ideally, you don’t start a defensive back as a rookie. The position has a steep learning curve, and it’s better to bring them along slowly. With Slay and a seemingly ageless Mathis, the Lions are in a position to draft a rookie corner to learn for a year as the nickel; or a safety to sit behind Ihedigbo on the back end.
It’s kind of an embarrassment of riches in the defensive backfield for the 2015 draft. Potential superstars like Ifo Ekpre-Olomu from Oregon, Alabama’s Landon Collins, and even homegrown Spartan Kurtis Drummond headline the group. Just like every year with DBs, there’s the possibility they drop due to one thing or another, and the Lions would be lucky to pick one of that group up. Any one of those three would be a coup for the Lions, who could sit them behind an established veteran and bring them along at their own pace.
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Another prospect that has been interesting to follow has been Washington’s Marcus Peters. At times looking like the best cornerback in the draft, other times he has looked completely lost in coverage and especially against the run. He is a very talented player of prototypical CB size, though, and a coach like Teryl Austin could immediately find a use for him and put him to work. There are some character concerns, but Peters has all the tools to be a big time NFL CB.
Barring an early round pick (For the umpteenth year in a row), the Lions may opt to find someone later in the draft to build behind James Ihedigbo (Assuming he’s back). One prospect that’s been flying under many people’s radar is small school prospect and awesomely named Jaquiski Tartt. The Samford product has the physical tools to be a dominant strong safety in time, but he hasn’t been able to remain healthy or consistent enough to string together sustained production. Let him learn behind someone like Ihedigbo and Quin with a coach like Austin, and you might have yourself a quality starter much sooner than later.