ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefner tweeted today that the free-agent cornerback market is almost all dry now that Antonio Cromartie and Kelly Jenkins have returned to the New York Jets and the Seattle Seahawks.
Many people agree that the secondary is the Detroit Lions’ weak link on defense, and that the organization should try to upgrade it before this upcoming season. With so few upgrades at defensive back available, let’s have a look at the secondary always in place in Detroit.
The Detroit Lions re-signed cornerback Chris Houston yesterday. Houston was by far Detroit’s best cornerback in 2010, and it is safe to say that he held his own while covering No. 1 wide receivers.
He is not the kind of cornerback that’s going to intercept a bunch of passes, but he covers well and doesn’t give up too many big plays.
Houston was at times very impressive for the Lions last season. The highlight game of his season was probably when the team held Aaron Rodgers to only two completions in the second half against the Packers at Lambeau Field in 2010.
That’s not the only time the former second rounder has been impressive for the Lions. During the four-game win streak last season, the team gave up only two touchdown passes, while the unit intercepted the ball on five occasions.
The Lions also acquired Eric Wright this offseason. In our opinion, Wright might as well become a candidate to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year this season.
He just had an awful year with the Cleveland Browns, but he is not really the only one to blame for the bad season he just had.
In this league, wide receivers will find room to break free from the cover if the quarterback is given enough time to throw. The Browns’ pass rush was close to non-existent last season. This season, Wright joins a defense that has a premier pass rush.
Look for him to rebound big time.
The Lions also have Alfonso Smith and Nathan Vasher on the roster. Alfonso looked good for the Lions, except for one game before he eventually was injured. Vasher is also a decent No. 4 cornerback.
One of the reasons why the Lions secondary didn’t look too great last season was because it featured C.C. Brown. The then six-year veteran was nicknamed "Can’t cover Brown" during his stay with the New York Giants, and he didn’t turn out to be any better for the Detroit Lions.
Brown is now no longer a member of the Lions, and the team is left with a strong safety battle between former cornerback Erik Coleman and Amari Spievey. Surely, both of them will be an upgrade over Brown, who was constantly getting beat or was missing assignments.
When it comes to the free safety position, there is little to no doubt that Louis Delmas is a talented option. He made the NFL All-Rookie team in 2009 and has combined for 176 tackles during his first two years in the NFL.
We expect this to be the year that Delmas solidifies himself as quality free safety in the NFL.
As you can tell, there is a lot to be optimistic about in Detroit, because when you think about it—even the secondary doesn’t look all that shabby anymore. Look for the Lions to at least make the playoffs in 2011.
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