LIONS INSIDER

Detroit Lions are looking to go big in their secondary

Posted Jan 13, 2013

After adding cornerbacks Chris Greenwood (6-1, 193) in the fifth round and Jonte Green (6-0, 184) in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, you can expect the Detroit Lions to continue to look for big playmakers to add to their secondary.

Bill BentleyThink of Bill Bentley as the exception and not the rule moving forward for the Lions when it comes to the type of cornerbacks they're looking to fill their rosters with.

The Lions took Bentley (5-10, 176) in the third round of last year’s NFL Draft and the rookie showed real promise (three starts in four games) before he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

But after spending a second-day pick on Bentley, the Lions went ahead and spent two more selections on Chris Greenwood (6-1, 193) in the fifth round and Jonte Green (6-0, 184) in the sixth round.

They also brought in veteran Ron Bartell (6-1, 210) at the end of the season and he started at right cornerback in the season finale vs. Chicago.

When the Lions look for upgrades to their secondary this offseason, look for them to go big – literally.

"You know, I'm used to some areas of the defense being very, very physical with size and strength on the back end," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "I mean, everybody in the league knows that. So we've got to get better there, there's no doubt about it."

If and when the Lions decide to add talent in the secondary via free agency or the draft, it’s likely to come in a big frame. The Lions are looking to be more physical in the backend of their defense. They also want players who'll be more durable.

Cunningham said last month he couldn’t wait to see how Green and Greenwood develop with another offseason.

Green started five games this year; while Greenwood spent his rookie season on the physically unable to perform list with an abdominal injury.

“He can drive the receiver,” Cunningham said of Green. “When he makes contact, the ball’s coming out, he has power and strength. He’s got a big body, a big frame and he is a force when he hits you. He does well against the run.

“Greenwood is a long athlete, a bit like Nnamdi (Asomugha), that kind of guy except he may be a much better athlete and faster, which is going to be hard to believe. But from what I’ve seen in street clothes and him moving and accelerating.

“Ron Bartell came in and he’s a big corner. Ron knows how to play this game and I think guys like Greenwood  and Jonte Green should study what he does and how he moves. That’s what I told Chris Greenwood the other day. I said, ‘Always watch big guys. Watch long guys. Don’t watch these little midgets that are running around because you can’t do that. They can’t do what you do.’

"So, hopefully we’ve gone in the right direction with some of those guys and we’re a lot bigger there.”