Addition to Detroit Lions cornerback depth chart may put starters on short leash

The signing of Kindle Vildor to the Detroit Lions active roster this week was off the radar, but it might quickly become something of note.
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Compared to last season the Detroit Lions' defense is improved, and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn wants to make sure everyone knows it. The last four weeks have been undeniably rough though, with all four opposing signal callers posting at least a 105 passer rating against them while averaging a collective 8.4 yards per attempt.

Last week, New Orleans converted five of seven third downs that were nine yards or longer.

In the background of placing defensive tackle Alim McNeill on IR this week, the Lions signed cornerback Kindle Vildor to the active roster from their practice squad. That move was prompted by the Tennessee Titans, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, wanting to re-sign him to their active roster.

Vildor played two games for the Titans earlier this season. They waived him, then the Philadelphia Eagles had him on their practice squad before they released him last month and the Lions signed him to their practice squad.

Vildor spent his first three NFL seasons (2020-2022) with the Chicago Bears, playing in 44 games with 22 starts. So the Lions were somewhat familiar with him before bringing him aboard.

Will Kindle Vildor put Jerry Jacobs and/or Cameron Sutton on the hot seat?

On Friday, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, here's what head coach Dan Campbell said about Vildor.

"Always liked the type of athlete that he was, the competitor that he is," Campbell said. "He really fits what we do because he can do a little bit of everything. He’s tough, he’ll tackle, so we play him a variety of coverages. He’s a smart, crafty guy. He’s got coverage skills and so look, it’s an opportunity to get up, let him compete a little bit and see where he goes."

Cameron Sutton and Jerry Jacobs have simply not been very good this season.

Sutton has yet to intercept a pass, with a 59.1 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus and a 101.2 passer rating allowed (via Pro Football Reference; 103.6 passer rating allowed according to PFF).

Jacobs has a team-high three interceptions, but he has been worse than Sutton overall with a 55.6 PFF coverage grade and a 103.4 passer rating allowed per PFF. Opposing offenses have clearly targeted Jacobs in recent weeks, with success.

Not that Vildor will be a cure-all for what ails the Lions' secondary. Over his largest sample of work, 821 defensive snaps with the Bears in 2021, he allowed a 136.1 passer rating. But Campbell did hint that he will see some action against his former team on Sunday.

"He might, he might,” Campbell said. “He’s been competing and he’s been taking some reps, so we’ll see.”

From the broad view, if Vildor is going to take snaps from anyone it'll be Jacobs more than Sutton. We'll see what happens on Sunday.


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