What is the Detroit Lions most interesting positional battle?
When it comes the Detroit Lions 2018 roster, which positional battle will be the most competitive and interesting to watch this offseason?
Going into the 2018 NFL Draft, the one area of the Detroit Lions roster that didn’t seem to be a pressing need was their defensive secondary. Yet, that didn’t stop the Lions from using one of their limited six selections to draft a defensive back.
The Lions added Louisiana’s Tracy Walker to their roster with the 82nd overall pick in the third round during the draft late last month. The rookie’s presence further stacked a defensive secondary overflowing with talent. Walker is expected to compete at safety, vying for playing time from 32-year old veteran Glover Quin, Quandre Diggs, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew.
Watching the rookie define his role in the offseason will surely be something to monitor this offseason. Yet, safety may not even be the most competitive positional battle in the secondary, much less the entire team.
With veteran Nevin Lawson re-signing this offseason, free agent addition DeShawn Shead and 2017 second round selection Teez Tabor all competing to play opposite of Pro Bowler Darius Slay, cornerback could be the battle to watch in 2018.
"“This might be the most interesting competition of them all,” wrote Tim Twentyman on the team’s official website. “Lawson is the returning incumbent, but Shead played well in that role in Seattle, and Tabor wasn’t a second-round pick last year for nothing. All three players bring a little something different to the table, so it will be interesting to see who emerges as the favorite on the outside based on the way Patricia and Pasqualoni want those outside corners to play in their scheme.”"
Starting 40 games for the Lions in the past three seasons, Lawson is clearly the early favorite to retain his role opposite Slay. But the hiring of former New England Patroits defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as Detroit’s new head coach is a wildcard.
Both Shead and Tabor should challenge the 27-year old Lawson, as anyone of these three defenders could emerge as the favorite this offseason.
The 6-foot-2, 212 pound Shead casts a pretty big shadow over the 5-foot-9, 192 pound Lawson. The former member of the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom is also coming off an ACL injury that limited him to just two games in 2017. How he rebounds this offseason will determine his role in this defense.
As for Tabor, the Lions committed to bringing the rookie up to speed very slowly last season. In fact, the former Florida Gator played a total of 14 defensive snaps in Detroit’s first eight game in 2017. But the Lions’ old coaching staff steadily increased Tabor’s snaps as the year wore on. The second rounder will have to earn the respect and trust of a brand new staff in order to win the starting role in the Motor City.
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Whomever starts opposite of Darius Slay at corner this upcoming season, whether it be Nevin Lawson, DeShawn Shead, Teez Tabor or someone else; they will have truly earned that spot this offseason due to the overwhelming talent at that position. It will be a battle to watch.