I must admit, when it comes to evaluating the Detroit Lions offensive and defensive units, I am not as sold as many analysts seem to be when it comes to the Lions’ cornerback room.
Sure, Bob Quinn used the No. 3 overall pick to select Jeff Okudah (who I believe will be in the Pro Bowl by 2022) and signed free-agent CB Desmond Trufant, but those moves do not guarantee a smooth season in the secondary.
Okudah is the real-deal but I also am not ignorant to think he will step in and be one of the top cornerbacks in the league right out of the gate. As far as Trufant goes, I do think he has some gas left in the tank but an almost 30-year-old player coming off an injury (one that should not limit him) does present some level of concern.
According to Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic, there is a trade the Lions could make that would provide them with some insurance at cornerback for the 2020 season. That trade involves sending LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin to the Philadelphia Eagles for CB Sidney Jones.
Here is what Kapadia has to say about the deal and how it would help the Lions and the Eagles.
Why it makes sense for the Eagles: Jones has played in 22 games (and made eight starts) since he was drafted in the second round in 2017. He’s never been on the field for more than 31 percent of the defensive snaps in a single season. The Eagles traded for Darius Slay and signed Nickell Robey-Coleman this offseason. Avonte Maddox is the favorite to start opposite Slay, and they still have fourth corner Rasul Douglas, who has been a starter in the past. The Eagles have thrown a bunch of darts at the linebacker position, and Reeves-Maybin could offer one more. He’s been mostly a backup with the Lions but has athletic traits and could compete for significant playing time — specifically in sub-packages as the Eagles don’t have a lot of options at linebacker. A worst-case scenario: Reeves-Maybin can be a core special teams player. His 13 special teams tackles last season ranked fourth league-wide. He’s 25 and in the last year of his rookie deal.
Why it makes sense for the Lions: They have a logjam at linebacker with Collins, Jahlani Tavai, Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Reggie Ragland. That puts Reeves-Maybin on the roster bubble. On paper, the Lions’ three starting corners are Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman. But Trufant turns 30 in September and missed seven games last season due to injury. The Lions are a high-percentage man coverage team, and new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin knows Jones well from their time together with the Eagles. Detroit can flip Reeves-Maybin, a linebacker who might not even make the team, for Jones, a fourth corner with theoretical upside.
If I was Bob Quinn, I would pull the trigger on this deal in a heartbeat.