The Lions’ Season Is Over, It’s Time For Everyone To Turn Their Attention To The Offseason.
Now that we know that the Detroit Lions will pick 21st in the upcoming draft we have a better idea of the options that will be available.
One of these potential options is cornerback Marshon Lattimore, a redshirt sophomore out of Ohio State.
Lattimore came to Ohio State as a four star recruit out of Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. His career got off to a bit of a slow start. He injured his hamstring before his true freshman season and redshirted that season. Then as a redshirt freshman in 2015 he played in seven of Ohio State’s first eight games before he started re-experiencing issues with his leg.
2016 was a different story for Lattimore. After Eli Apple left the Buckeyes for the NFL and opened up a starting spot at the cornerback position. Lattimore was able to battle and win that job.
Opposing quarterbacks quickly learned that testing Lattimore wasn’t a wise decision. He finished the season with 41 tackles, nine pass defenses and four interceptions. His performance led to him being named to the first team All-Big Ten coaches team and second team on the All-Big Ten team, voted on by the media.
There are a lot of things to like about Lattimore. He has pretty good size at 6’0” and 192 pounds and also has good length as well. Lattimore has excellent speed, loose hips and quick feet. The Ohio State corner is very capable in both man and zone coverage.
In press coverage he is very good at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. His instincts and athleticism allow him to stick with his receiver and stay in their hip pocket throughout their route.
When asked to play off-coverage Lattimore reads quarterbacks and anticipates where and when the ball will be thrown and makes sudden breaks on the ball.
Something else that stands out about Lattimore’s game is his ability to not just break-up passes but he tries to make plays on the ball and create turnovers whenever he gets the chance. There were a couple examples of this in Ohio State’s game against Oklahoma. On one play he stayed with his receiver who was running a deep route across the middle of the field. Lattimore ran slightly behind the receiver to make Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield believe that the receiver had some separation. As soon as Mayfield threw the ball Lattimore accelerated and simply stepped in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass.
Another aspect of Lattimore’s game is physicality, both while in coverage and while defending the run. He doesn’t seem to shy away from contact and is very willing to take on ball-carriers. Lattimore takes good angles and is a sound tackler who wraps up well in most cases.
There aren’t many negative things to say about Lattimore as a prospect. One possible negative is that he only had one season as a full-time starter. However the fact that he has such a well-rounded game and so much talent will make it easy for NFL teams to overlook his inexperience.
Teams might also be concerned by his hamstring injuries that set him back during his first two years at Ohio State. Since he was able to stay healthy this season this likely won’t hurt him either.
Having a cornerback such as Lattimore to play on opposite of Darius Slay would be a great addition to the Lions defense. A team can never have enough skilled cover guys or guys who can create turnovers like Lattimore can.
For these reasons it’s possible that if he is still on the board when the Lions are on the clock, Lattimore could be the pick.