One year later, the Detroit Lions secondary should be the real deal
By Robert Jones
Now as we sit just three weeks away from the start of training camp, the defense looks different. It looks deeper on every level and decidedly better on the back end. Better to the point that it is possible this secondary could challenge the defensive line for the title of being the strength of this defense.
Let’s start with safety. Diggs and Tracy Walker have a chance to be a dynamic one-two punch. Walker proved himself to be an outstanding athlete that was capable of making plays. The problem is that he was used sparingly. That won’t be the case this year.
Meanwhile, this year’s rookie safety will also get his opportunity to contribute. Third-round pick Will Harris out of Boston College is a versatile, hard-hitting player that will have a chance to do what Walker did last season. Perhaps even more.
This isn’t even talking about the addition of free-agent signee Andrew Adams who has a nose for the ball or veteran Tavon Wilson or young Charles Washington who also has talent.
Remember that Patricia’s defenses like to run three safety sets and they have the talent to not only run it but overcome injury as well.
On the corners, the Lions will definitely be better with Darius Slay in uniform, but if he’s not, this group isn’t exactly without options. I think we all expect Rashaan Melvin to start opposite of Slay, but rookie fifth-round pick Amani Oruwariye hasn’t looked at all out of place during O.T.A’s. Does it mean he’d be ready to start opening day if Slay sits out? That probably isn’t Matt Patricia’s preference to throw him to the dogs so early, but Oruwariye isn’t the only option.
Justin Coleman was considered the premiere slot corner in the NFL last year. A job he could do very well for the Lions, but he could easily move to the outside and let Jamal Agnew take the slot.
Let’s not forget that Agnew was showing promise in the slot before his injury caused him to miss the majority of the season.
That would still leave the veteran depth of Marcus Cooper on the bench as well as youngsters Mike Ford and Dee Virgin who both had up and down rookie campaigns but looked promising during O.T.A’s.