Heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, which began this week, the Detroit Lions have plenty of holes to fill on their roster. One position that appears to be settled is the nickelback cornerback position, a position that was played by 2015 6th round pick Quandre Diggs for a majority of the season.
New Lions general manager Bob Quinn had an opportunity to check out the tape of the former University of Texas standout and likes what he sees in the young defensive back.
“Yeah, Quandre had a good season last season for the Lions,” said Quinn. “I have fully evaluated him and I think he’s a good player, primarily as an inside corner. That’s the best thing that he does. That’s a very important position. We’re going to be in sub- or nickel defense about 70 to 75 percent of the time.”-MLive
While it’s no surprise that more and more NFL teams are shifting towards using five defensive backs in a majority of their sets to match up with pass happy offenses, this means that nearly 3 out of every 4 plays will have only two linebackers on the field. What does this mean exactly for Detroit on draft day? Well, it most likely means that the Lions won’t be drafting a linebacker, at least in the first round.
Most first round linebackers are expected to be ‘3-down’ players. Assuming that DeAndre Levy returns to 100 percent next season suggests that the Lions have their ‘3-down’ backer for the considerable future. With Levy playing, Detroit also has other capable options to fill out the other linebacker spot such as Josh Bynes and Travis Lewis, both of which are under contract for next season. The Lions could also re-sign Tahir Whitehead, who has played well in his first four years since being taken by Detroit in the 2012 draft.
It makes the most sense for the Lions to pass on a linebacker in the first round of the draft and instead focus on either upgrading their offensive line or to grab a playmaker at the receiver position.