4 Potential FAs Detroit Lions fans should watch closely in Rams vs. Cardinals playoff game

The NFL Playoffs will continue on Sunday afternoon and once again, Detroit Lions fans will have to watch other teams compete for the Super Bowl.

Monday’s NFC Wild Card matchup begins at 8:00 PM EST and features the Los Angeles Rams vs. the Arizona Cardinals.

Here are 4 potential free agents Lions fans should be paying close attention to in today’s game.

CB DARIOUS WILLIAMS, LOS ANGELES RAMS

Darious Williams was the only restricted free agent to receive the first-round tender last offseason at a value of $4.766 million, signaling how much the Rams value his contributions. The move may also demonstrate their perception of how Williams is regarded league-wide if they thought a second-round tender would not have been enough to keep another club from signing him to an offer sheet. A very solid player opposite Jalen Ramsey, Williams has thrived in a heavy zone scheme but has physical limitations at just 5-foot-9. Nevertheless, opposing quarterbacks rarely fare well throwing into his coverage, and he deserves a payday.

Bottom Line:
Darious Williams has elite quickness, movement skills and the ability to find and break up the football once it’s in the air. He can play equally well in man or zone coverage but has always been protected by his role within the Rams defense.

G AUSTIN CORBETT, LOS ANGELES RAMS

The Cleveland Browns took Corbett with the first pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and his NFL career got off to a rocky start. After Corbett played just 15 snaps over one-and-a-half seasons, the Browns sent him to the Rams for a fifth-round pick. Strangely enough, Corbett’s career trajectory now somewhat resembles that of Browns star right guard Wyatt Teller, with a trade and a change of scenery leading to a boost in his play.

Corbett didn’t miss a single snap for the Rams in 2020 and logged a career-high 73.4 overall grade and 76.4 run-blocking grade despite switching from center to right guard. He’s maintained that level of play through Week 12 of 2021, and his upward trajectory, positional flexibility along the interior of the offensive line and draft status could lead to a solid payday.

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Bottom Line:
Corbett’s play as the Rams’ starting right guard over the past two years has helped him shed the “bust” label that was prematurely placed on him after being drafted 33rd overall by the Browns in 2018. He’s a top-20 guard in PFF’s wins above replacement metric since 2020, and he can be plugged in as a capable starting guard for most NFL offenses.

CB ROBERT ALFORD, ARIZONA CARDINALS

Alford hadn’t played a single snap of NFL football in two full seasons and stepped in as the Cardinals’ No. 1 cornerback this year at the age of 33 — a truly remarkable feat. Alford’s 68.5 coverage grade is the second-best of his career, and he showed he hadn’t missed a step in his absence. Unfortunately, a pectoral injury landed him on injured reserve just a year after the same injury sidelined him for a full year.

Bottom Line:
Alford is about average in coverage ability, and far from his peak with the 2017 Atlanta Falcons. He can still live on the outside and provide value to a defensive backfield, assuming his pec heals properly.

DI SEBASTIAN JOSEPH-DAY, LOS ANGELES RAMS

The Los Angeles Rams run defense took a big hit for a few weeks following an unfortunate torn pectoral sustained by Joseph-Day in Week 7, but reports have indicated he may return for the playoffs. His ability to eat up space on the interior and free up other rushers will be valued across the league.

Bottom Line:
Joseph-Day hasn’t had the hardest job in the NFL, given that he’s been playing next to Aaron Donald, but he provides positive value to any run defense. If he’s blocked one-on-one, expect him to win most of those reps.

*Analysis via Pro Football Focus

 

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