Detroit Lions Have Talent At Cornerback, But Could Add Depth.
The Detroit Lions already have some talent at the cornerback position. Lions 4th year cornerback Darius Slay has proven to be a very good player, and was rewarded with a nice extension during the offseason. The Lions number two cornerback, Nevin Lawson, has shown some promise during his time in the league.
However after Lawson, the talent drops off quite a bit for the Lions. The next two cornerbacks on the roster for the team are 2nd year player Quandre Diggs, and Johnson Bademosi who is known more for his work on special teams than for his defense. Detroit could look to add some young, talented depth at the cornerback position in the 2017 draft.
2017 Draft Class- Cornerback Prospect Options:
Narrowing down to three cornerbacks to mention in this article was a difficult task. There are a lot of talented players at the position who could get drafted early on in next year’s draft. The cornerbacks who were given the honor of being talked about in this article are Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey, Iowa’s Desmond King, and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis.
Marlon Humphrey- Alabama
At 6’1″ and 196 pounds Marlon Humphrey has the height and length that most teams are looking for in a cornerback, and Humphrey also has some pretty good athleticism to pair with his frame. He uses his size and athletic ability to his advantage. He is a physical player who is not afraid to engage blockers or ball-carriers, and is a sound tackler. Also he does a good job of slowing down receivers at the line of scrimmage while in press coverage.
Alabama plays mostly man coverage but does mix in some zone, so Humphrey has experience with both. The redshirt sophomore does a good job of creating turnovers. Through 21 games in his career, he has 4 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles.
Humphrey does have some weaknesses however. He is sometimes slow to turn his head to locate the football, and he occasionally gets too handsy in coverage. Both of those things will lead to pass interference penalties at the NFL level. The good news for Humphrey is that both of those weaknesses can be improved with some more experience and coaching. The Crimson Tide cornerback has the physical tools and talent to be a high-level player at the next level.
A couple good games to catch Humphrey in action are: vs. Texas A&M, October 22nd; @ LSU, November 5th.
Desmond King- Iowa
Desmond King has more playing experience than just about any potential prospect who could be selected in the 2017 draft. The 5’11” 200 pound cornerback already has 46 games of playing experience under his belt. Now in his senior year, King has played a large role in the Iowa defense since his true freshman season. And in every season that he has played, he has improved.
King has a very good feel for the game, and he excels in zone coverage. NFL teams will like his ability to play on the outside and as a slot corner. Also King has great instincts and ball-skills and like Humphrey, King is a turnover machine. Through the 46 games he has played, King has recorded 11 interceptions, 8 of those interceptions came last season alone. To pair with his coverage ability, King is also good against the run as well. He is comfortable attacking the line of scrimmage and is a good tackler for a cornerback.
The main concern about King’s game is his speed. He isn’t an awful athlete by any means, but he could struggle against wide receivers who have elite speed. However King is good at identifying routes and anticipating what the quarterback will do with the football, which could possibly help cover up for his lack of elite speed.
A couple of opportunities to see King in action are: vs. Michigan, November 12th; vs. Nebraska, November 25th.
Jourdan Lewis- Michigan
Jourdan Lewis has a lot to offer to NFL teams looking to take a cornerback in the 2017 draft. The senior is at his best in man-to-man coverage. This is because he identifies routes very well and he doesn’t allow his receiver to get much separation. Lewis also has very good instincts and locates the football pretty well. The Michigan cornerback is also a pretty decent tackler as well. Through 34 games in his career Lewis has racked up 31 pass defenses and 5 interceptions.
One of the biggest weaknesses in Lewis’ game is his size. He has okay height at 5’11” but only weighs 186 pounds (even that may be generous). Because of this he may end up struggling against bigger, more physical receivers. Also Lewis sometimes gets too grabby in coverage, but liked mentioned with Humphrey, that is something that can be improved.
A couple suggestions to see Jourdan Lewis and the Michigan Wolverines play are: vs. Indiana, November 19th; @ Ohio State, November 26th.