Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
This potential breakout has been a long time in the making. Greenwood was the Lions' fifth-round pick in 2012 as an athletic project out of D-II Albion College.
He spent his entire rookie season as the NFL version of a medical redshirt. His rawness still reared its ugly head during the 2013 preseason, and it ultimately led him to leave Detroit for Dallas.
The change, to misquote Sheryl Crow, did him some good. Being exposed to a different coaching staff seemed to have helped him. Even though he never made it on the field, his Cowboys experience aided him.
When Dallas gave up too, frustrated that the 6'2" stud with the 43" vertical leap and 4.34 40-yard dash time—thanks to Carlos Monarrez at the Detroit Free Press for the numbers—played with an ineffective timidity, the Lions gave him another chance.
His brief audition at the end of 2013 finally demonstrated why general manager Martin Mayhew took such a raw talent with such a valuable pick. Greenwood played outstanding against the Giants in Week 16, ceding just nine yards on five passes in his direction, per PFF.
He also played well in the finale against Minnesota. Even though Cordarrelle Patterson beat him for a touchdown, Greenwood was in good position and reacted well. Corners are going to get beaten in the NFL, and the way he responded showed positive growth.
With Seattle's success with big, physical cover men, teams are dying to get guys with those attributes. The Lions happen to have one in Greenwood, and his arrow is definitely pointing up.
If he clicks with the new coaching staff, he could emerge as the cornerback that most everyone believes the Lions desperately need. He'll get his chance.