2020 Detroit Lions Roster Preview: What the defense and specialists offer

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Tracy Walker, Detroit Lions
Tracy Walker, Detroit Lions (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions Defensive Roster Preview: Defensive Backs

Despite being much-maligned, the Detroit Lions actually have a good group of defensive backs; even with the loss of Darius Slay. Both the safeties and corners are anchored with a reliable veteran and have multiple up-and-coming young players.

At cornerback, veterans Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant lead a group of young, talented players. Coleman was one of the best slot corners in the league last year over the first eight games. After that, he took a big step back midseason and looked like a shell of his former self. If he can get more help from his defensive line, then perhaps he can rebound and perform at a high level all season long.

Trufant was considered a top-10 cornerback league-wide just a few short years ago. Before too long, however, injuries hit him hard and he went down multiple times. If he can stay healthy then his man-coverage skills that are prominently displayed due to his technique and speed, then he will be a solid number one corner for Detroit.

The most popular name right now however is Jeffrey Okudah. The Ohio State corner is everything you could want in a lockdown corner. He has good size, good speed, great instincts, and elite technique. There’s a reason he was selected third overall and it shouldn’t be long before he takes over as top dog for the Lions.

After that, there are young corners who have shown the potential to be competent number two cornerbacks, including Amani Oruwariye and Mike Ford. Oruwariye was a middle-round draft pick and showed promise when on the field in the last part of the 2019 season. Ford has even less notoriety and yet he has still shown that he can hold his own against a number of NFL wide-outs.

At safety, the Lions are led by the duo of veteran Duron Harmon and rising star Tracy Walker. Harmon is another player that has extensive knowledge of Patricia and his playbook and has always played well in it.

Walker is a great youngster who can handle any assignment you throw his way. He can cover receivers deep down the field and on underneath routes with outstanding range. The third-year safety is also a dependable run supporter, able to provide consistent tackling and always doing his part.

The third safety of the team, second-year player Will Harris, is a great versatile piece to have on defense. He can play both safety positions and showed promise as a rookie. He isn’t the best safety and he won’t be an elite player anytime soon, if ever, but he gives Detroit safe safety play as the third one on the field.

The last two guys at the position are more for special teams. C.J. Moore has shown himself to be a valued member of the special teams and should make the team due to being a stand-out in that area. Lastly, Miles Killebrew is more of a flex defender than a safety and can play all over the field. However, if Killebrew is going to make the team, he is going to do so as an end of the roster specials teamer.

53-man roster prediction: Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, Mike Ford, Tracy Walker, Duron Harmon, Will Harris, C.J. Moore, Miles Killebrew