Detroit Lions: New corner brings experience to secondary
By Kellen Voss
The Detroit Lions secondary has not been the deepest unit this entire decade, but this veteran can help provide experience at corner back.
While the Detroit Lions look to set at one corner for the foreseeable future with Darius Slay on the roster, the corner spot opposite Slay looks to be up-for-grabs this offseason. That role was played by Nevin Lawson last season, and even though he did an adequate job, the Lions opted not to resign him as he joined the Oakland Raiders.
Even though the Lions lost one starting corner from Oakland, they may have found his replacement from that same bay area franchise, as Rashaan Melvin has taken one of the corner spots on the first-team defense all throughout the spring for the Lions.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Melvin has proven more than capable of making an impact in his past stints with the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and most recently the Oakland Raiders.
A press corner with length and excellent ball skills, Melvin posted a career year in 2017 with the Colts, posting 36 tackles while defending 13 passes and amassing three interceptions in the 10 games he started. While he was able to post more tackles in 2018 (56), he was only able to defend nine passes and grab one interception even though he appeared in four more games than he did in his career year.
Even though Melvin didn’t play his best brand of football in 2018, a change of scenery in Detroit may be the best thing for him. It will help that he will be familiar with head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive schemes, as he spent half of the 2015 season playing under Patricia’s defense in New England. Melvin’s former defensive coordinator is thrilled to have back under his tutelage.
Here’s what Patricia told Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com about the veteran corner.
"“[Melvin’s] a big, long corner. He’s a guy that’s familiar with the different techniques and fundamentals that we’ve played through the course of the year. He’s a guy that naturally falls into some of the scheme things that we do and some of the stuff that we do on the field.”"
In Patricia’s schemes, the Lions will expect a very physical brand of football in the secondary and a lot of man coverage, which is something that Melvin specializes in while proving to be a formidable tackler.
While the Lions landed a handful of flashy, talented players in Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola, Melvin may end being the most underrated free agency signing for Detroit this offseason as he looks to compete with Teez Tabor, Amani Oruwariye, Marcus Cooper Sr. and Mike Ford for the starting corner job.
The Detroit Lions will need a lot of pieces to fall into place in order to see their defense improve in 2019, and the physical nature and veteran presence in the talented tackler Rashaan Melvin could very well be a piece needed to be counted on for defensive success.