With vacancies at cornerback in 2018, how would Davon House fit with the Lions?
With Nevin Lawson and D.J. Hayden scheduled to hit free agency, the Lions need to add more talent to the cornerback position this off-season. A career stopgap, Davon House was drafted by Green Bay in the 4th round in 2011. After his rookie deal was up, he defected to Jacksonville on a four-year, $24.5 million deal for the chance to become a number one corner. After a promising first year under Gus Bradley, he lost his starting spot in 2016 and was swept out under the new Coughlin-Marone regime last off-season.
House returned to the team that drafted him on a prove-it deal in 2017. In Green Bay, he started at left cornerback in a predominantly man-to-man scheme that also emphasized matchup zone concepts. He played primarily in cover 3 from a bail, similar to what he was asked to do in Jacksonville. House battled injuries throughout the year and missed one game with a quad injury and three due to shoulder and back problems.
He has prototypical size with long arms and a square frame but shows below average athletic ability on tape. He lacks in quickness, balance, and explosion, although he shows very good change of direction skills.
Off the line of scrimmage, Davon House does a good job using a long arm to funnel receivers towards his help defenders in zone. He’s patient to open up and displays solid ability to squeeze good receivers into the sideline in ideal, off-hip trail position in Man. He has a balanced enough skillset to survive against bigger Mohamed Sanu types as well as the Eli Rogers’ of the world in man. At the top of routes, House flashes exceptional body control and route anticipation to sticky glue to the receiver on comebacks/curls/hitches.
A career cover 3 corner, House is a disciplined zone player who splits the difference between routes and plays with his eyes to the quarterback. He’s comfortable to pattern-match from a bail and doesn’t bite on misdirection. House has an excellent nose for the football, displaying the ball skills to get his head around and locate the ball in man or zone. He can make contested catches and get a free hand into tight cracks to dislodge the football.
House is a capable run support player that maintains proper outside integrity to force the ball inside and can get off blocks quickly to locate the ball carrier. He’s a willing, sure tackler that can take down bigger running backs, wrapping low around the legs with the 2nd effort to finish the job.
House struggles mightily playing in press, lacking both precision and quickness with his initial jab. He’s quick to open his hips early when the receiver releases well with quickness. He shows stiff hips and struggles to transition into space. House bites hard on stutters and hip feigns in man and has a tough go taking on in-breaking routes against athletic WRs due to a lack of twitch and recovery speed. He lacks the foot speed to carry receivers deep who possess better than average foot speed.
From a bail, House can overcommit and play with too much cushion, leaving him susceptible against sideline routes. He tends to get handsy at the top of routes. He’s slow to diagnose run from pass. As a run defender, he bites hard of run releases and shows adequate aggression towards the ball. His processing of where the ball is going is average. He lacks strength going into tackles and will whiff hard against jump cuts in the open field.
Although it wasn’t always pretty, Davon House served as a more than capable starter in a young secondary that needed experience. Going forward, House can continue to serve as a high-end backup or spot starter in a zone-based scheme that allows him to play with eyes to the quarterback and consistently make physical plays on the ball. He could prove an intelligent signing if brought in on a one-year, low money deal. He lacks the foot speed to match up with more athletic receivers down the field.