Dan Campbell is embracing competition for starting spots in Lions' secondary

With all the added pieces this offseason, the Lions are setting up an open competition for starting spots in the secondary.

After a season where the pass defense was the biggest weakness on the team, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes poured resources into the cornerback depth chart this offseason. After trading for Carlton Davis and signing Amik Robertson, Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw were the Lions' first two picks in April's draft.

Davis is presumably a locked-in starter at one of the outside cornerback spots. One way or another, with the prospect he sees more snaps at safety this year, Brian Branch is also a locked-in starter for the Detroit secondary. Everyone else's exact role or place in the pecking order once the season starts is to be determined as mandatory minicamp goes on this week. Rakestraw, as an example, was seen playing in the slot during rookie minicamp.

Competition is good for the situation, and head coach Dan Campbell confirmed as much on Tuesday.

Uncertainty over who will start in Lions' secondary right now is a good thing

Via SI.com, here's what Campbell said about all the options in the Lions' secondary.

"Yes, yes. It’s a great place to be in. We have so many options right now," Campbell said. "So much competitiveness. A.G. and I were talking about it the other day, Brad and I are talking about it every evening. I mean, the talent level, the competitiveness, the versatility. Honestly, we have no idea who our starting lineup’s gonna be right now and it’s exciting. It’s so good, like there’s no telling who’s gonna be our outside corners, who’s gonna be our nickel, who’s gonna be our safeties. This thing is wide open across the board and it’s gonna be great to let these guys compete and just go after it and see who’s gonna be the most reliable guys for us, most dependable. So it’s exciting.” 

Outside of Davis at a perimeter cornerback spot and Branch somewhere (slot corner or a safety spot), the Lions have interesting questions over who will start in their secondary.

As long as he's good to go after offseason hip surgery, Kerby Joseph can be practically locked in to a starting safety spot. Ifeatu Melifonwu is looking to build off his strong finish last year and assert himself as a starting safety, and he played cornerback in college. Rakestraw could play outside or in the slot, as could Arnold and Robertson. There are lots of options, including players who have not been mentioned here.

The question is finding the right mix of players and roles to create a top-notch pass defense come Week 1. The Lions have some time to figure it out, as the players largely figure it out for them from now through training camp.


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