Detroit Lions secondary
Depth: Mike Ford, Teez Tabor, Jamal Agnew, Tavon Wilson, Andre Chachere, Marcus Cooper, Rashan Melvin, Amani Oruwariye (R), Dee Virgin, Andrew Adams, Will Harris (R), David Jones, Miles Killebrew, Charles Washington
UDFA/ other: C.J. Moore (R)
The skinny: This is the unit that has undergone the second most changes on the roster. Quinn has built around Slay and Diggs as the leaders in the secondary. Losing Glover Quin was a big loss to the back end of the defense but he was not fitting in as well with the defense and looked to be showing his age finally.
The good news is that the Lions were able to lure free agent Justin Coleman to the Motor City to function as either an outside or slot cornerback, albeit with a large price tag. Behind him, in year four of the Quinn era, we can finally see some depth building after All-Pro Darius Slay at cornerback. Mike Ford, Rashan Melvin, and rookie Amani Oruwariye from Penn State all give the Detroit Lions better depth than in years past.
The base formation of the Patricia strategy is usually a five defensive back configuration with three cornerbacks and two safeties but Patricia is also a big proponent of adding another safety while pulling a linebacker out of the game; these are referred to as a nickel and a dime defense, respectively. Tavon Wilson, the third safety, will face stiff competition for that role.
Obviously, quite a few players will be cut here once it gets past preseason but until then the unit has added speed, a missing characteristic to a large degree. When Bob Quinn quipped that the team needed “playmakers” this offseason, that is a pretty good substitute word for speed or ball skills. Ford, Oruwariye, Harris, with Walker, Slay, Diggs, and Coleman give the Lions a more athletic group than what they had in 2018.
The Detroit Lions are likely to keep about four or five cornerbacks and a similar amount of other defensive backs to use in sub packages of their defense. Players like Teez Tabor, a former second-round pick, will be on the bubble of being cut if they serve no specific purpose or are not standout special teams players. Jamal Agnew, for example, has been a starter at slot corner and a Pro-Bowl punt returner, giving him a better chance to stay on the active roster.
What do you think of the defensive changes? Let us know in the comments! Follow us on Twitter, CoachKirk @mkirk2 for more Detroit and Michigan sports plus other random content.