In this 11 part series Adam Ostermeier and I are going to be profiling each position group on the Lions roster, with two groups a week and three during the last week as we lead you to the first preseason game of the year against the Steelers on August 12. In this series of articles we will be giving you a general idea of what to expect for each player, project stats for the upcoming season, and predict who’s making the final cut to keep your off-season boredom at a low dim and give you a chance to look at the roster before the first kickoff happens. Week three of the Lions position analysis on the defensive side of the ball leads us to the cornerback position. Darius Slay just signed an extension to stay with Detroit. Behind him lie a lot of questions though, so let’s see what Detroit has in store this season.
Darius Slay is a Top 7 Cornerback
Darius Slay said he was a top seven cornerback in the NFL and his contract extension he just signed sees him paid as such. Slay is a shutdown cornerback for Detroit, something the team hasn’t had in years and it is great to have some help in the secondary to shutdown opposing offenses. Slay is going to have a good year this year, with the contract talks out of the way and a wedding planned out, he can relax and just dominate the field with his mind cleared of any possible distractions.
2016 Projection: 50 tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 20 pass deflections, five interceptions.
Keith Lewis Will be Sent Packing
Keith Lewis has only been in the league for a year and hasn’t been on a team for that long. He was on the practice squad for the Jets in 2014 and was waived by the team in 2015. He then signed a practice squad contract to the Chargers before getting let go then signed by the Chiefs to a future contract before getting cut. Detroit picked him up but don’t expect him to make the 53 man roster or the practice squad.
2016 Projection: Cut.
Johnson Bademosi Takes Over Special Teams
Johnson Bademosi hasn’t played much cornerback while he has been in the league. He only has 39 total tackles, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery. Don’t expect him to be on the field when the defense is out there, he is a special teams body and he excels in it, so don’t fix what isn’t broken.
2016 Projection: 10 tackles.
Darrin Walls Brings Experience
Darrin Walls was a free agent signing for the Lions to bring in depth and a veteran in the cornerback spot. Walls has 66 total tackles, 21 pass deflections and three interceptions in his five-year career. Walls will be down in the depth chart, but he can still come out at times and help the team when needed.
2016 Projection: 20 total tackles, three pass deflections.
Crezdon Butler Makes the Cut
Crezdon Butler has had a crazy career so far in the NFL. Eight teams, count them, eight, have had Butler on their roster. He only had three tackles in the eight games he was with Detroit, but he performed big against Green Bay last year and with a strong camp and preseason, Butler can make the team.
2016 Projection: 12 tackles, two pass deflections.
Ian Wells Falls Short
Wells is coming in from Ohio University, where he had 141 tackles, six for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, 28 pass deflections, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. Wells is going to come up short in this competition though as an undrafted rookie. He has many experienced and highly skilled players in front of him. His back is up against the wall to even make the practice squad, which is a pipe dream now.
2016 Projection: Cut.
Quandre Diggs Steps Up
The sixth round pick from last year is moving up on the cornerback depth chart. He had 35 total tackles, six pass deflections, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Diggs stepped up last year when Rashean Mathis went down and this year he will continue to improve. He was a steal in the sixth round from what many scouts said, so let him show the league just who they passed up in the draft.
2016 Projection: 32 total tackles, eight pass deflections, one interception.
Adairius Barnes Swings and Misses
Adairius Barnes didn’t have a bad career at LA Tech, getting 150 total tackles, six and a half for loss, one sack, 10 interceptions, 26 pass deflections, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Barnes, like Ian Wells, has his back up against the wall and while he did have 10 interceptions in school, he won’t be good enough to make the roster.
2016 Projection: Cut.
Alex Carter Gets Demoted
Alex Carter was a third round pick in 2015 and he never saw the field due to injuries. He hasn’t looked good so far in training camp and with younger and more hungry guys beneath him just wanting to either get their shot or continue to play for the team, he might get beat out by majority of the cornerbacks.
2016 Projection: Practice Squad
Nevin Lawson Locks Up the Number Two Spot
Nevin Lawson missed the majority of his rookie year with a dislocated foot, and he came back stronger than ever in 2015. He had 41 total tackles, and seven pass deflections in the 14 games he played in last year, starting nine of those. This year, with Mathis gone and Lawson doing well in his limited time last year, expect him to take over the number two cornerback spot and help lock down the opposite side of the field from Slay.
2016 Projection: 45 total tackles, 10 pass deflections, one fumble recovery, three interceptions.
Final Cornerback Depth Chart
- Darius Slay
- Nevin Lawson
- Quandre Diggs
- Darrin Walls
- Crezdon Butler
- Johnson Bademosi
- Alex Carter (practice squad)