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What is the Plan in the Secondary?

Rod Hood after an interception vs the Jaguars

Rod Hood after an interception vs the Jaguars

The Lions have pulled out of the free agency frenzy after a busy first day.  In addition to signing Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nate Burleson and trading for Corey Williams, they released Grady Jackson and Phillip Buchanon.  The Lions are not expected to resign Anthony Henry and William James is visiting with the Seahawks.  Per Tom Kowalski of, the Lions are not planning on pursuing any more significant free agent additions.

Where does that leave the secondary?  Henry and Buchanon are not coming back, and James may not be back either, that leaves the Lions with Eric King, Kevin Hobbs and Jahi Word-Daniels at cornerback.   The Lions are bringing in Jonathan Wade for a visit, but he has six starts in three years and will not be expected to start.

The Lions will look to bolster the secondary in the draft, but with seven picks it will be difficult to find two starting caliber corners, especially with one pick assumed to be a defensive tackle and potentially another used on a running back.

After the first few days of free agency my cornerback ranking needed to be adjusted for signings, so here are the available options:

  1. Rod Hood – It blows my mind that he hasn’t been brought in yet.  Not only is he young, he has good size and he played in the Titans scheme last season, which didn’t change much after Schwartz left.
  2. Frank Walker – He is not starter material, but he has good coverage skills and the Lions may be able to get a solid year or two from him.
  3. Marlin Jackson – In a somewhat surprising move, the Colts allowed Jackson to become an unrestricted free agent.  He has struggled with injuries and is more of a Tampa 2 style corner, but he is young and plays the run well.  He is a huge injury risk  coming off of ACL tears in both knees in the last two seasons.
  4. Benny Sapp – Sapp also comes from a Tampa 2 defense, but he has more coverage ability than I initially expected.  He logged a few starts due to injuries and he held his own.
  5. Lito Sheppard –  Sheppard was a premier corner a few years ago, but he has struggled with injuries and consistency ever since.  He gives up a lot of big plays and doesn’t compensate by making big plays.

Leigh Bodden, who was a longshot to even consider Detroit, has several teams bidding for his services and will get a big money deal soon.  Dunta Robinson was snapped up by the Falcons on the first day of free agency.  Nate Jones signed with Denver yesterday.

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