Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Weight: 195 lbs.
The oldest Lions defender also graded as one of their best in 2014. Injuries and wear had plagued Rashean Mathis in his final years in Jacksonville, but he has seemingly found renewed vigor in Detroit. He’s only logged one interception in his time in Detroit but his generally solid coverage skills and strong tackling ability as well as football intelligence have made him a clear fit for Teryl Austin’s aggressive defense.
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Even if he wasn’t playing well on the field, his leadership in 2014 was more than apparent. Darius Slay, after a down 2013, rebounded quickly in part due to Mathis taking him under his wing. Prior to their injuries, both Nevin Lawson and Bill Bentley were looking like they were strong nickel options and the mentorship of Rashean Mathis can’t be overstated.
It’s possible that injury might force Mathis to move to safety, but until his age finally catches up to him it’s a boon to the Lions to have someone like him holding down one of their cornerback spots. Whether me moves positions or not, 2015 may end up being the final season for the former all pro, who has already begun planning for the easy life of retirement-slash-pro-golfing.
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