Did Detroit Lions defense improve enough for 2020?

Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions secondary

Most notably, the Detroit Lions’ secondary has been retooled after the trade of Pro-Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. Former Atlanta Falcons corner Desmond Trufant is now the number one cover man but the safety depth is better with both Duron Harmon and Jayron Kearse being added to a unit that featured Tracy Walker, Will Harris, Miles Killebrew, and C.J. Moore. Jalen Elliot was also brought in as an undrafted free agent.

New Detroit Lions defensive coordinator, Cory Undlin, a former defensive backs coach who migrated from the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, is known to be a competent teacher and defensive mind; he’s often relied upon less talented secondaries than the one he will inherit in Motown. Undlin has ties to Quinn and the Patriots from 2004, when he was just starting his NFL coaching career as a defensive assistant.

The cornerback depth in the Motor City is deeper than in years past after Trufant, featuring first-round pick Jeff Okudah, second-year Amani Oruwariye, free-agent pickup Mike Jackson, with Mike Ford reprising his role as an experienced backup. Justin Coleman is the primary nickel back-slot cornerback. For once in the general manager Bob Quinn era the secondary has depth, upside, and some proven playmakers in the fold.

Jamal Agnew, Darryl Roberts, Dee Virgin, and Tony McRae will compete for special teams jobs, primarily but Agnew could see triple duty as a punt returner, wide receiver, and slot cornerback.

The Detroit Lions use five or six defensive backs most of every game because their base defense utilizes three cornerbacks and two safeties but often flips to three safety looks on passing downs. So, improved depth at safety and cornerback were essential to improving the pass defense.