The Detroit Lions defensive secondary has had quite the buzz surrounding it this offseason, with a majority of the attention centered around the nickel corner spot.
It all started when the Lions drafted the promising, young defensive back out of the University of Texas, Quandre Diggs. The early impact of Diggs this offseason has been well documented as the little brother to former standout NFL DB, Quentin Jammer has been on the field with the first-team defensive unit throughout the offseason workout programs and practices.
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Then, in a somewhat surprising move, (depending on who you ask) Detroit released their former starter at nickel, Bill Bentley. Bentley had battled nagging injury concerns often in his young career, and had reportedly failed his most recent physical.
Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
With Bentley out of the picture, Diggs, second year cornerback Nevin Lawson and newly added free agent Josh Wilson are left to duke it out for playing time and should provide Lions fans with an entertaining battle in training camp later this summer.
With all that going on, there remains another guy on the Detroit Lions roster who has the size and strength to also make an impact as a rookie in 2015 — this years third round pick in the NFL Draft, Alex Carter.
In case you don’t remember, Carter is a big boy. At 6 feet tall and almost 200 pounds, the hope is that Carter will be the eventual heir apparent to the ageless wonder, Rashean Mathis.
The plan is that with a year or maybe even two to learn behind the NFL veteran and locker room leader, Carter will then be able to take over the position on the outside as he resembles another big NFL DB, Richard Sherman. Coincidentally, he even comes from the same learning institution, Stanford.
They haven’t put me at nickel, but if they do in camp, then I would love it. I’m in the playbook, I know what to do if I’m there.” – Alex Carter via The Detroit News
For Carter, his plan for this year is to gain experience on the field while he learns from Mathis. That includes on special teams plays and even as another competitor in the nickel corner race if given the opportunity.
Some further encouraging news on Carter is that he is reportedly meshing well with his new teammates, according to Detroit’s No. 1 defensive back, Darius Slay.
"It’s been great keeping the guys together, man, it’s all about building chemistry and a family. We’re a big family.”“So we have a great time out here. We’ve never had a time when we’re all up and down. We’re brothers, so we can always talk about whatever.”"
Slay also hasn’t been hesitant to provide Carter with advice, despite the fact that he is entering just his third season in the league.
"“Just stay positive with everything,” Slay said. “Don’t ever look down on yourself. Just don’t ever feel like putting all the pressure on you because it’s a team.“And just always compete. Just come out here to work and be happy about it, be happy where you’re at.”"
As training camp approaches in August, be sure not to forget the name Alex Carter. Not only is the Stanford graduate a big body, but he’s also incredibly smart too. And you can never underestimate great football IQ.
"“Oh, man, great competitor,” Slay said of Carter via The Detroit Free Press. “Big. I love big corners. Big, aggressive, and he’s willing to learn. Smart guy because of Stanford, but other than that, he’s smart with the football. He’s well-spoken. He asks questions a lot.”"
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