2015 Detroit Lions Roster Analysis: Cornerback
By Kent Platte
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Nickelback position was the biggest hole on the Detroit Lions roster last season. There isn’t really any question about it, either, as Cassius Vaughn (The team’s 4th nickelback) saw far too much action for anyone’s liking. After Bentley and Lawson went down, the team inexplicably let Danny Gorrer go, while Vaughn and UDFA Mo Seisay took turns getting beaten by pretty much everyone. This year looks brighter, but only if health prevails.
The promising steal out of Texas didn’t rate well in any measurable category, but he was loved by ProFootballFocus in their first year covering college ball. Drafted in the sixth round, Diggs slotted in by default ahead of Bentley and Lawson, who are still recovering, but also started ahead of several veterans the Lions brought in for the sole purpose of starting at nickel. Diggs is an intriguing prospect if he can carry his strong camp play into the regular season.
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Lawson was just starting to look good when he went down with a gruesome foot injury. A dislocation doesn’t sound that bad, but it’s a tough injury to gauge recovery from and the team is taking it pretty slow with Lawson. One of the scrappiest little guys on whatever football field he steps on, Lawson will get plenty of shots to play nickel (Which he was drafted to do) when he finally returns.
Dwight Bentley has had a rough go of his NFL career so far. One of the best zone based corners in his draft class, he was a solid pickup in the 3rd round of 2012 but hasn’t been able to remain healthy long enough to carve a role out for himself. Now that Schwartz and his system are gone, Bentley isn’t tied to this staff or this scheme and despite starting training camp well in 2014, another injury derailed his season and (barring a huge resurgence) his time in Detroit.
If I wasn’t writing about him right now, would you even have remembered he was on the roster? The former Redskin was a pretty good nickelback, but tanked hard in 2014 as an Atlanta Falcon. How bad was Wilson? If you put his tape and Cassius Vaughn’s next to each other, the uniforms would likely be the only difference. Still, he was paid a pretty decent amount of money to be on the Detroit Lions roster and it’s hard to see him off the team unless he continues his downward spiral.
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