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My Defensive Back Rankings

The third annual Extreme Home Makeover, Lions’ Secondary Edition is expected to air at some point between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon as the 2011 NFL Draft provides the Lions with another chance to upgrade the secondary this offseason.  Despite what many experts are saying, the Lions actually aren’t in the market for that much help in the secondary.

The Lions signed S Erik Coleman before the 2010 league year ended and he will compete with 2nd year safety Amari Speivey for the starting strong safety job, the loser will backup both safety positions.  The free safety position is held down by Louis Delmas and the Lions have John Wendling in reserve who also plays a huge roll on special teams.  Don’t forget about Randy Phillips, a young rookie free agent who would have been drafted if he was completely healthy.

The Lions have two veteran cornerbacks on the roster in Nathan Vasher and Chris Houston, although Houston could become a free agent whenever the rules are decided.  Behind them are young but unproven players like Alphonso Smith, Aaron Berry, Brandon McDonald and Prince Miller.  The Lions definitely want to add more talent to the secondary, but they already have a lot of unproven young players adding several more may not necessarily upgrade the position.

The Lions are not expected to draft a safety since they have invested a high second round pick and a high third round pick in the last two years on that position, so unless there is an incredible value that presents itself, I don’t see the Lions addressing the safety position.  Therefore, I focused my efforts on the cornerback class.

The Lions have a bunch of players that can be capable defenders, but they lack a corner that strikes fear into opposing offenses.  I expect the Lions to go after an athletic corner with top end speed an elite ball skills that can develop into a number one corner.  Alphonso Smith briefly flashed the dynamic a ball hawking conerback brings to a defense and the Lions want to add another player of that type.  They have plenty of players that can play zone coverage and break up the occasional pass.  The Lions need somebody that can turn a slightly inaccurate throw into change of possession.

These rankings will vary from some other rankings you’ll see because these are team specific and scheme specific.  Some players are left off my rankings because they are not a good fit for the Lions. 

Since I have limited resources to work with, my evaluations don’t extend past 3rd or 4th round prospects.  These rankings are based on a combination of various scouting reports, game footage, Senior Bowl practices, Combine coverage, draft related articles and opinions from sources.  The players’ names link to the scouting reports on

My Rank Player, Pos, Team Height Weight
1 Patrick Peterson CB, LSU 6-1 222
2 Prince Amukamara CB, Nebraska 6-1 205
3 Brandon Harris CB, Miami-Florida 5-11 195
4 Curtis Brown CB, Texas 6-0 184
5 Jimmy Smith CB, Colorado 6-2 205
6 Ras-I Dowling CB, Virginia 6-2 205
7 Rashad Carmichael CB, Virginia Tech 5-11 186
8 Curtis Marsh CB, Utah State 6-1 193
9 Chimdi Chekwa CB, Ohio State 6-0 190
10 Brandon Burton CB, Utah 6-0 185
11 Davon House CB, New Mexico State 6-0 200
12 Justin Rogers CB, Richmond 5-10 182
13 Buster Skrine CB, Chattanooga 5-10 185
14 Chykie Brown CB, Texas 6-0 194
15 Josh Thomas CB, Buffalo 5-11 198
16 Ryan Jones CB, Northwest Missouri St. 5-11 195
17 Shareece Wright CB, USC 5-11 185

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