3 second-year Detroit Lions who are on notice as offseason work ramps up
2. CB AJ Parker
Parker was one of the undrafted rookies who was pressed into a bigger role than expected last year, but he also legitimately earned the role as nickel corner coming out of training camp. He spent a bit of time on short-term IR in late November and into December with an ankle injury, but he played 13 games (seven starts) and totaled 39 tackles with seven pass breakups and one interception.
The Lions didn’t draft a cornerback until the seventh round, but Chase Lucas instantly became the third-oldest cornerback on the team and he was a five-year starter at Arizona State (thanks extra COVID year). Former Vikings first-round pick Mike Hughes was signed in free agency. If 2020 No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah is ready to go coming off a torn Achilles in Week 1 last season, he’ll be significantly in the mix. Will Harris, who Campbell has tongue-in-cheekly called a “cafety” (combination cornerback/safety), is also lined up to be in the mix for snaps as an outside corner.
Surely due primarily to the prominent role he had in the Lions’ defense as a rookie (557 snaps), Parker played just 28 special teams snaps last year. But special teams looks like his best path to a roster spot this year, unless injuries around him clear a better path (again).