The Detroit Lions have done well to navigate a long list of injuries on their way to a 5-1 start this season. The secondary has been thinned, with cornerback Emmanuel Moseley lasting two plays into his season debut before tearing his other ACL and rookie star Brian Branch missing the last two games with an ankle injury.
Branch's absence has pushed Will Harris into a more prominent role. He had an interception off a batted pass in Week 6, but it's not ideal to have him playing 96 percent and 70 percent of the defensive snaps as he has the last two games. If the Panthers had been equipped to exploit him and the Buccaneers had connected on some opportunities to do so, it could have been pretty ugly.
Even once Branch returns from his injury, pushing Harris back into almost strictly a special teams role has to be on the Lions' radar. Opponents put a bullseye on him when he's on the field, as they should. It's the biggest sore spot in what's been a very good defense so far this season, and it's only highlighted when Harris has had to play a lot.
A potentially perfect fit for the Lions' secondary is now available
On Tuesday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the Pittsburgh Steelers will part ways with cornerback Desmond King one way or the other. If they can't find a trade partner, they will release him.
King has only played in three games for Pittsburgh this season, with one defensive snap and 15 special teams snaps. He was cut by the Houston Texans late in the preseason, and the Steelers signed him quickly. But Chandon Sullivan became the team's primary nickel corner, with Patrick Peterson, Levi Wallace and Joey Porter Jr. taking the rest of the work at cornerback.
King played all 17 games for Houston last season, with 89 total tackles, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and two fumble recoveries. The year before for the Texans, he had 93 total tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups. He was a starter on the outside for Houston, after starting his career as primarily a slot corner for the Chargers. It's unlikely he has suddenly lost the ability to play, without explanation. There are no indications that a hidden injury kept him off the field for the Steelers.
King is a Detroit native, so such as he may have a choice he may want to come back home. His experience and skill set also happen to be a nice fit for the Lions, which is the most important thing.
The Lions didn't have a need in their secondary when Houston cut King. Now they do have a need, if only for depth, so his availability is coming at an ideal time and any interest would be well-founded.