Lions Should Trade For Eric Rowe
By Jeff Risdon
Could former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz unintentionally help out his old franchise with his peculiar eye for defensive back talent? It appears Schwartz, now the Defensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, has already soured on 2015 second-round pick Eric Rowe. Per Eagles beat writer Eliot Shorr-Parks:
Shorr-Parks further elaborated,
Mills is a lot like Rowe, a hybrid corner/safety. It’s important to note Schwartz played a role in drafting Mills in the seventh round of 2016 but was not with the Eagles when they chose Rowe a year earlier. Mills fell in the draft process for an off-field incident and truly dreadful tackling, but in coverage he’s near Rowe’s equal and a little faster.
If Rowe is indeed available, Bob Quinn needs to work out a deal to acquire the former Utah star. Even though he struggled as a rookie in locating the ball and getting lost in traffic at corner, Rowe got better over the course of the season. Lions fans saw his lowest point, when he was hopelessly overmatched by Calvin Johnson as seen in the picture above. It’s important to remember he was a safety all his career until his senior season at Utah.
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Rowe would compete with Alex Carter for the outside CB role opposite Darius Slay and (for now) Nevin Lawson. I graded Rowe higher than Carter in the ’15 draft class. In fact, Rowe was my official draft crush of that season.
He might wind up being a better NFL safety than corner, but that’s just fine for Detroit’s purposes. Although the 6’1”, 205-pound Rowe is a more natural free safety, his tackling and nose for the run would allow him to work as the strong safety in Teryl Austin’s defense. But the more likely role would be as sharing that spot opposite Glover Quin with hard-hitting rookie Miles Killebrew. Play Rowe in passing situations or when the opposing team goes spread or with a receiving-oriented RB in the game, play Killebrew in run situations or against 12 or 22 (1 or 2 RBs, 2 TEs) personnel sets.
Quinn needs to exploit the regime change in Philadelphia and capitalize on Jim Schwartz’s error. Remember, Schwartz is a coach who continually struggled to develop defensive backs or find working combinations during his tenure in Detroit.
Here’s a possibility: trade Kyle Van Noy for Rowe. Who says no?