The Detroit Lions are desperate for quality, consistent cornerback play as they have played a multitude of combinations of players at the position in 2012. Chris Houston is the only cornerback who has been consistent, both with his play and his health. The Lions have played rookie Bill Bentley, Jacob Lacey, Drayton Florence and Alphonso Smith at cornerback opposite Houston in 2012.
Most consider cornerback the Lions’ primary need, but we also know that the Lions always surprise by going best player available. In a perfect scenario, the Lions will have one of the following players fall to them in the 2013 NFL draft.
The top of the draft is dominated by offensive linemen and defensive linemen, and that might help to push one or both of these cornerbacks down the board to the Lions.
Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
It is rare to find an elite cornerback with elite coverage skills who is as 6’2” tall like Banks is. Banks is 185 pounds and needs to bulk up a little, but in a league with receivers getting taller, the size that Banks offers is a massive bonus.
Banks plays in the SEC, is exceptionally experienced, and he has no problem matching up with the bigger wide receivers that he will see in the NFL (see Brandon Marshall). He is a physical football player who is willing to deliver hits in run defense.
He can play press man, off-man and zone coverage, but he is probably best suited to play in a zone scheme like the scheme Detroit plays. Banks is a versatile football player and an automatic upgrade for the Lions.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Milliner is a junior, and it is not known whether he will declare for the draft. Some consider Milliner the No. 1 cornerback in the draft if he comes out. It would make sense for Milliner to enter the 2013 NFL draft with the guaranteed money that would be there for him.
Milliner is 6’1” and 198 pounds, and he is also bigger than most at the position. Milliner has had a strong junior season at Alabama, with 45 tackles, 14 pass breakups, two interceptions, four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Milliner is another cornerback who embraces the physical aspects of the game. Milliner is also an instant upgrade for the Lions at the cornerback position, and a player that fans have been screaming for.