Lions among teams to have top-30 visit with popular cornerback prospect

Cornerback is clearly on the Detroit Lions' draft radar, and they'll have a top-30 visit with a prospect who's been popular on the circuit
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback was the No. 1 need for the Detroit Lions entering the offseason, and they wasted no time addressing it with a trade for Carlton Davis and the signing of Amik Robertson before the second day of free agency was over.

The position remained a possibility with an early pick in the draft later this month, and the release of Cameron Sutton created a new void in the depth chart. In recent mock drafts, for what it's worth, cornerback has become a popular pick again for the Lions at No. 29 overall.

As the Lions fill out their allotment of top-30 pre-draft visits, they've hosted cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry, Ennis Rakestraw, Qwan'tez Stiggers and Nehemiah Pritchett. Another cornerback prospect can be added to the list.

According to Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network, the Lions are among seven teams who have or will have (it's not totally clear) a top-30 visit with Kentucky cornerback Andru Phillips.

"Long list of (top) 30 visits for Kentucky DB Andru Phillips, source said. Extremely popular name within league circles that’s enjoyed an excellent pre-draft process."

Along with the Lions, Fowler reported Phillips has/has had visits with the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers

Lions on top-30 visit slate for Kentucky CB Andru Phillips

Phillips barely played over his first two seasons at Kentucky (13 combined games in a backup role). Over his last two seasons, he played in 25 games (16 starts; 12 in 2023), seeing time outside and in the slot with 78 total tackles, 10 pass breakups and zero interceptions. Last season he got a 71.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, with a 72.9 coverage grade.

That lack of ball production is a concern, thought it's somewhat rooted in only have two years of real experience in college. Even playing with what Lance Zierlein of called "the mindset of a safety", missed tackles (15, according to PFF) were a thing for Phillips last season.

Given what Brad Holmes and new defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend have said about tackling being a mandatory skill for a Lions' cornerback to see the field, being interested enough in Phillips to have him in for a top-30 visit is surprising.

Phillips is largely a projection at the next level, with the raw tools and athletic testing numbers (4.48 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical, 11-foot-3-inch broad jump at the combine) to make him interesting with more experience and in the right scheme. Evaluators also note some intangible qualities to how he plays, which probably grabbed the Lions' attention if they saw that on his college tape.

It's no surprise the Lions are doing plenty of work on a deep class of cornerbacks in this year's draft. If nothing else, Phillips is an interesting prospect that plenty of other teams want to get a closer look at.

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