Since Matt Patricia traded Darius Slay in 2020, the Detroit Lions have been searching for a No. 1 cornerback who is worthy of the status. Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant, Amani Oruwariye....no one fit the bill with any staying power.
Cam Sutton was brought in to change that. The first piece of the Lions' secondary remodeling in free agency, signed to a three-year, $33 million deal, he emerged as a very good starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the last couple seasons. In 2022, he tallied 15 pass breakups (sixth in the league).
Playing primarily on the outside and against the opponent's top receiver, Sutton ranked 11th in yards allowed per coverage snap last year (0.76, according to Pro Football Focus) with a 69.6 passer rating alllowed according to PFF (65.3 passer rating allowed, according to Pro Football Reference). That looks like a No. 1 corner, but without the broad name recognition befitting that status.
Cam Sutton bringing an end to the Lions search for a No. 1 cornerback?
Via 97.1 The Ticket, Sutton had a brief comment on the notion he can (or will?) end the Lions' search for a legit No. 1 cornerback.
"Oh, 100 percent," Sutton said. "100 percent."
Sutton was of course part of some very good secondaries in Pittsburgh. But he put the Lions' rebuilt unit in a similar class.
"It’s definitely right up there," "You talk about position flexibility guys. That makes everyone's job easier and makes us not a stationary target, too. Anytime you just line up and play one side of the field, left and right, it’s obvious for teams to ID you and your coverage. You see so much of that now, teams spreading the ball around and pre-snap ID’ing with shifts and motions....we’re definitely a very flexible group.""- Cam Sutton
It seems Sutton is more cerebral than especially visibly vociferous or brash. So he won't be as outward with his No. 1 cornerback swagger as others over time, who shall go unnamed, are and were. But as a key part of an improved secondary for a rising team, he is lined up for a star-making turn this season.