5 Detroit Lions players who are on the hot seat in 2021

Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Tracy Walker, Detroit Lions
Tracy Walker, Detroit Lions (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

Tracy Walker, Will Harris – Safties

Yeah, we did it again. Similar to the situation that Williams and Perriman find themselves in, Walker and Harris, the presumed first-string free and strong safeties, are in must-produce mode.

Why are their seats hot?

Tracy Walker is in the final year of his rookie deal, coming off of an injured season where he only started seven games. He inexplicably fell out of favor with the previous coaching regime but will get a renewed opportunity to prove that he can be the free safety that the Lions need.

Will Harris still has another year on his rookie deal after 2021 but he has failed to stand out in limited snaps over the last two years; he played in just 28% of the 2020 defensive snaps according to Pro Football Reference’s website.

The two men have starter pressure on them, both were drafted in Round 3 by the franchise, and both have limited contracts after 2021.

In his June 8th press conference head coach, Dan Campbell, praised the safeties including recent signee Dean Marlowe, when asked about the position by Free Press Detroit Lions beat writer, Dave Birkett. Campbell explained how Marlowe is trying to lock down a strong safety spot after being used as a box safety-linebacker hybrid in dime packages for the Buffalo Bills.

Neither Walker nor Harris was mentioned but Campbell did say that he felt like they would find solid starters among the group. His confidence seemed genuine as he described his process for holding players accountable and establishing a better culture in the locker room.

Marlowe, CJ Moore, Bobby Price, Godwin Igwebuike, Alijah Holder, Jalen Elliot, and rookies D’Angelo Amos, and Ifeatu Melifonwu are all trying to earn a spot. Melifonwu is sure to make the team, he is a talented third-round selection from Syracuse who may play both safety and cornerback with his size and athleticism.

Generally speaking, teams don’t allot more than four or five roster spots to safeties at the most.