The Lions spent time and resources this offseason to infuse more talent into their secondary, especially at the cornerback position. Young veteran
“I’m watching that group closely and we’ll see if we have to make a move there or not,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters this week when asked about the secondary. “Right now, I’m enjoying watching that group compete.”
Houston and Berry will likely head to training camp as the starters, with Lacey at the nickel. After that, there’s a lot of upside and potential, but question marks, too. Smith is probably the best playmaker of the bunch, but can he be more consistent? Bentley, the team’s third-round pick, has certainly looked the part but how quickly will he develop? Can Greenwood and Green continue to make big strides and be in the mix for playing time?
Those are all questions that’ll need answers in the first couple weeks of training camp in July and August. Lions quarterback
“They are getting their hands on guys and trying to make plays on the ball,” Stafford said. “From what I’ve seen, we’ve been playing a lot of defense with the cornerbacks looking back at the quarterback being able to read and jump routes and they’ve been aggressive.”
There’s not contact in OTAs and the minicamp, so it’s tough to get a good evaluation on anything, but Bentley has held his own against the veterans and has been in a position to make some plays this offseason.
“He’s good,” receiver
The nickel seems tailor-made for Lacey, whose biggest asset is his physicality and tackling, useful assets in the middle of the field. Smith has eight interceptions over the last two years with the Lions, but his inability to stay disciplined has limited his playing time. “There are some guys coming back who have an opportunity to step up for us,” Mayhew said. “Alphonso Smith comes to mind.”
Greenwood has missed the last couple open OTAs with an undisclosed injury and didn’t take part in this week’s minicamp, either. Hopefully that hasn’t set him back at all when camp opens for rookies July 23 and the veterans July 26.
Green, a sixth-round pick out of New Mexico State, has good size (6-0, 184) and has made his share of plays this offseason. One of the big storylines in training camp will be how the pecking order in the secondary plays itself out.
“I think that cornerback position is going to be really tough to shake out because we have a lot of guys that can make the team,” Burleson said.