It’s no secret that injuries hurt the Detroit Lions last season, especially at the nickel cornerback position. Quite a few changes have been made at the position this offseason, and stability should be easier to come by this year.
Bill Bentley, a third round pick in 2012, failed to play more than a single quarter before his year was ended by way of an ACL injury. He has since been released by the team.
Nevin Lawson, a fourth round pick in 2014, attempted to fill the void left by Bentley last year. He is still not quite 100% after a foot injury in the team’s second game of the season.
To build depth at the position, the Lions signed veteran Josh Wilson. They also drafted highly touted University of Texas corner Quandre Diggs this year.
Wilson has played in every game the last four years, three years with the Washington Redskins, and last season with the Atlanta Falcons. In those four seasons he racked up 256 tackles, as well as 42 pass breakups, and six interceptions.
Diggs has had a very encouraging camp so far. He split a lot of first team reps at the nickel spot in OTAs with Wilson. In his college career, he had 151 tackles, 11 interceptions, and 14 sacks. He opened a lot of eyes at the combine, where he ran a 4.56 40 yard dash. Described as a “downhill defender”, he plays very aggressive and enjoys contact.
Lawson is expected to be a factor at this position as well, but not until he is fully cleared to resume football activities.
Compared to last season, when the team used players such as Cassius Vaughn, Danny Gorrer, and Don Carey, the outlook is much better heading into the upcoming season.
What do you think, Nation? Who will win the job out of camp, and will the position be more of a strength this season?