Prospect: Jimmy Moreland
Position / School: Cornerback / James Madison
Height / Weight: 5-10, 179
2018 Statistics: 13 games played, 13 starts, 5 interceptions, 7.5 tackles for loss
Draft Projection: 4th-6th round
The Lions’ defensive backfield has undergone a significant amount of change this offseason, and it figures to see at least one more addition in the draft. It’s doubtful that they wait until the advanced parts of the draft to address their need at cornerback, but James Madison’s Jimmy Moreland could provide excellent value as a late round option.
Simply put, he makes plays. In addition to his five interceptions in 2018 for the Dukes, Moreland picked off 18 total passes in his college career, solidifying his reputation as a corner with tremendous ball skills. Six of those takeaways also went for touchdowns. He’s a physical player, and he doesn’t shy away from contact.
There are concerns, though. He is small and slight, meaning almost assuredly that he would have to be a nickel player in the NFL despite his time playing outside in college. Would that affect his opportunities to make plays on the ball?
The Lions need their entire secondary to be sound tacklers and willing run defenders. Moreland’s lack of size and NFL-level strength could limit him in that respect. Additionally, he was charged with petty theft in 2015, and while the years have passed and he’s stayed clean since, it’s the kind of issue that can raise red flags for NFL decision makers and can cause draft day slides.
The Lions employ sub/nickel packages often, so Moreland could prove to be an valuable piece as a late round choice. The Lions did add a high priced veteran free agent in cornerback Justin Coleman to patrol the slot, so Moreland wouldn’t see starter snaps. If the Lions really like his tape on the outside from college though, maybe they see his potential there and look past his physical limitations in favor of his playmaking skills.