Cameron Sutton was brought to Detroit in good part for his talent level, but he’s bringing an extra mode to his new team and his new role.
The first step in the Detroit Lions reshaping of their secondary in free agency was signing cornerback Cameron Sutton. Originally a third-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, he worked his way into a starting role over his final two years in Pittsburgh and became one of the top corners in this year’s free agent class.
It’s safe to say Sutton didn’t work his way up the Steelers’ depth chart based purely on talent or skill-based growth. At the recent league meetings Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin noted how Sutton combines talent, intellect, preparation and ability to communicate in order to be a versatile piece in a secondary able to line up anywhere.
Cameron Sutton bringing a little extra to his role in the Detroit Lions secondary
Sutton talked to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News recently, and he dove into his mental approach and how he tries to differentiate himself.
"A lot of guys know the game, but they don’t really understand the game, knowing the why,” Sutton said. “It’s about honing in on the details of why these things are happening, what you see and believing it. When you put the preparation into it — and granted, things are going to happen, that’s part of the game — but you see it, put the time in it, so go get it.”I’m not just a cornerback, I’m not just a nickel, I’m not just a safety,” Sutton said. “I’m an overall defensive back who can affect the game and be what you need me to be. Don’t get me wrong, if you need me in a stationary role, you need me to play outside, whatever that is, I’ll do it. It’s about impacting the game.”"
Sutton turned 28 in February and he’s the third-oldest player on the Lions’ roster, behind only left tackle Taylor Decker and linebacker Alex Anzalone (who is about five months older than Sutton).
The Lions new No. 1 cornerback has already said he’s ready to take on a leadership role, however naturally that may land as one of the veterans on a young defense. But Sutton is bringing some teeth to the role via his mental approach, as an example for younger players to follow. And that, as they did their work on free agents to target, may have been a tipping point for the Lions to make the push they did to sign him.