Glover Quin Is Getting Older And Detroit Should Start Looking For A Replacement.
Welcome to the final edition of this year’s draft overview series. In this series, I take a look at five possible options at each position that Detroit could end up taking in this years NFL draft. Last week, I looked at the cornerbacks, next up is the safety position.
Glover Quin was again the leader at the safety position last season and he will be the leader again in 2017. Behind him were some new faces and while they weren’t all-pro players, they did a good job in helping him. Tavon Wilson was one of them as he was always a backup safety coming to Detroit, and he was given a shot to start and ran with it. While he wasn’t as good as Quin, he did well for a player who has sat the bench for most of his career.
Wilson shared time with the injury-riddled Rafael Bush, and both of the players rotated in the starting spot and during the games. Bush stayed healthy and did well in Detroit, but he would go back to New Orleans and sign with them during the offseason. Rookie Miles Killebrew saw himself play some safety, but he did also play some nickel linebacker and seemed to do well with it, he has a bright future on this team as well.
Don Carey is the final safety and while he mostly plays special teams, he had to play some safety and cornerback this year. While he wasn’t very good at cornerback and average at safety, his best work is on special teams. Overall, Detroit needs some help behind Quin with Bush gone and Carey getting older, so here are five players to watch out for come draft day.
1. Obi Melifonwu (UCONN)
During his four years starting at UCONN, Melifonwu had some productive numbers, ending with 349 tackles, 16 pass deflections, 11 tackles for loss, eight interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Obi has good size for the position, being 6’4 and with his athletic body he can help out the defense big time. He can tackle well and force the ball carrier towards the sidelines as he corners them. Has good insight of where the ball is headed. Lacks instinct and sometimes waits for the play to come to him instead of attacking. Play-action can get him from time to time. Takes long routes to get to the ball carrier at times, which makes him too late to make the tackle etc. Gives tight ends a tough time in coverage. Great at downhill tackling. Good at not drawing penalties.
Obi is the only safety on this list that Detroit should take in the first round if they think Quin is on his way out and Obi could be his replacement.
2. Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)
Playing three different defensive positions, Jabrill will play safety in the NFL and at Michigan, he was able to rack up 119 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 11 pass deflections, three sacks and one interception.
Loves being on the field, wants to contribute any way he can. Can also return kicks and punts well. Good ability to use a burst of speed to get around tackles and get to the quarterback. If going with tackles and linebackers up the middle, he can get lost and shut down by the line. Takes a while to dissect the play. Can be tricked by play-action. Hits hard. Doesn’t give up on plays. Good man coverage skills and can mess with tight ends.
Peppers is a second round choice for Detroit if Detroit believes they can work on him and make him work at the next level.
3. Budda Baker (Washington)
Baker had some great help in the secondary during his time at Washington, and he was able to finish with 199 tackles, 18 pass deflections, 13 tackles for loss, five interceptions, four sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Explosive player that can hit hard and cover well. Always wants to get involved with the play and help out. Can change his direction on a dime. While he can plow through receivers who block him, tight ends give him what he dishes out. Tackling is questionable. Good ball skills and he plays aggressively.
Baker is another option in the second round for Detroit as he could start alongside Quin.
4. John Johnson (Boston College)
At Boston College, Johnson was able to help his defense become the number one ranked defense in 2015, and in his career, he had 167 tackles, 14 pass deflections, six interceptions, five and a half tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Johnson has good tackling skills, once he has you wrapped up you are going down with him. Can play safety and cornerback if needed. Changing directions isn’t a problem with him. Has trouble finding the ball in the air when it is over his head. Lets receivers get the inside on him at times, which allows the easy catches. Good ball skills.
Johnson is a fourth round talent that could come in and rotate with Wilson like Bush did last season.
5. Jordan Sterns (Oklahoma State)
A three-year starter at Oklahoma State, Sterns was able to produce good numbers, ending with 328 tackles, 12 pass deflections, 11 tackles for loss, five interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Tackles well. Good coverage skills and can jump routes to make a play. Changing directions can be difficult. Play-action can mess with him. When beaten, he doesn’t have the speed to catch up and stop the play. Can play Special Teams and safety, a possible Don Carey replacement.
Sterns is a fifth round option for Detroit as he could provide some good depth and Special Teams help.