With free agency fast approaching, many are examining holes on the Detroit Lions roster that caused issues during the 2017 season. People want to address the defensive line, linebacking corps, offensive line and offensive backfield. While these spots do need to be addressed this offseason, there is one potential position of need not many are talking about: cornerback.
In 2017, the first corner spot was held down by first team all-pro Darius Slay. After him, Nevin Lawson and DJ Hayden manned the second cornerback position. However, both hit free agency this offseason, which could leave Detroit in dire need of a new corner opposite of Slay. Here are some veterans who are unlikely to command mega-contracts that the Lions could potentially sign.
2017 Stats: 48 tackles, 7 passes defended
PFF Grade: 81.2 (41st cornerback in the league)
Prince Amukamara is a solid, but unspectacular corner. He can cover and tackle at good, but not elite levels. He is a very solid player, and could come in and instantly hold down the cornerback two position. The downside to Amukamara is that he almost never forces turnovers. His most recent interception came in week three of the 2015 season.
2017 Stats: 49 tackles, 3 interceptions, 11 passes defended
PFF Grade: 82.0 (36th cornerback in the league)
Brent Grimes has had a long, successful career in which he has been voted to the pro bowl four times. Known mostly for his acrobatic interceptions, Grimes also consistently has had high tackle totals throughout his career. Grimes is a very good player, but will be 35 years old at the start of the 2018 season.
2017 Stats: 41 tackles, 2 interceptions, 12 passes defended
PFF Grade: 88.8 (9th cornerback in the league)
Lions fans may remember Williams as a former Green Bay corner who helped them to win a Superbowl in 2010. Williams spent eight seasons as a Packer before going to Cleveland for two seasons, in which he saw significantly less success. Williams had a career renaissance in Arizona last year, finishing as a top 10 corner in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Williams will also be 35 at the start of next season.
2017 Stats: 47 tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 passes defended
PFF Grade: 75.7 (65th cornerback in the league)
Johnathan Joseph used to be among the NFL’s elite cornerbacks, but had a down year in 2017. Injuries to several key players in the Texans defense forced Joseph into a larger spotlight, and he wasn’t able to handle it quite as well as he has in the past. Joseph still finished with an average grade from PFF, and the 34 year old could be worth pursuing.
2017 Stats: 21 tackles, 2 passes defended
PFF Grade: 45.2 (103rd cornerback in the league)
Vontae Davis has had an extremely inconsistent career. He has spent time with the Dolphins and more recently the Colts. Davis sometimes plays like one of the top corners in the league, and other times looks lost on the field. He doesn’t offer a lot in run support and is coming off of a bad season in which he only played five games. He is probably the least appealing option on this list.
2017 Stats: 46 tackles, 1 interception, 7 passes defended
PFF Grade: 84.0 (25th cornerback in the league)
Early in his career, Maxwell looked like an up-and-coming great corner with the Seahawks. Since then, he has bounced around between Philadelphia, Miami and back to Seattle, with varying levels of play. Though his on field abilities have been up and down in the last three seasons, he is coming off of a good year in which he returned to Seattle.