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2018 training camp preview: Cornerback

On the roster: Darius Slay, Teez Tabor, Quandre Diggs (DB), Nevin Lawson, Jamal Agnew, DeShawn Shead, Mike Ford, Amari Coleman, Chris Jones, Antwuan Davis

Key loss: DJ Hayden

Making the cut: Slay, Tabor, Diggs, Lawson, Agnew, Shead

On the bubble: Ford, Coleman, Jones, Davis

Table inside Article
Name Games Tackles INT PD FF FR
Darius Slay 16 60 8 26 0 1
Teez Tabor 10 11 0 0 0 0
Quandre Diggs 16 55 3 9 1 0
Nevin Lawson 15 47 0 4 1 1
Jamal Agnew 13 5 0 0 0 3
DeShawn Shead^ 2 2 0 0 0 0
Mike Ford* 11 32 1 14 0 1
Amari Coleman* 11 44 3 8 0 0
Chris Jones* 4 7 0 1 0 0
Antwuan Davis* 10 30 2 0 1 2
^with SEA *college stats

Best competition: Who starts opposite Slay on the outside?

The Lions have great depth at cornerback heading into training camp.

Slay made his first All Pro and Pro Bowl teams last season, and returns in 2018 as one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL.

Lawson started 15 games for Detroit last season, and is back after re-signing this offseason. He's got 40 career starts under his belt, and is a gritty defender.

Tabor, the team's second-round draft pick last season, played a limited role on defense early as a rookie, but earned time during the second half of the season. Throughout the course of the open offseason practices, it was Tabor that played a majority of the snaps with the first-team defense opposite Slay. He is long, smart, instinctive, and it appears the coaching staff is going to give him every chance to win a starting role.

Both Lawson and Tabor can play inside and outside, which gives the team options. It's unclear if Diggs plays more slot cornerback or safety this season, but if it's safety, Tabor and Lawson could both see time together alongside Slay.

The veteran Shead will also try and get into the mix to start outside, but he was consistently a second teamer in the spring.

View photos of the cornerbacks competing for roster spots entering training camp.

Twentyman's take: The Lions are in pretty good shape at cornerback with both their talent level and depth. Teams can never have too many good pass rushers and defensive backs, and the Lions certainly look stacked in the back of their defense.

Slay is one of the best young cornerbacks in the league. He's a player the Lions can line up opposite an opponent's best receiver and feel pretty good about the matchup. That's rare.

Tabor is a smart and instinctive player, and his length could ultimately set him apart in the competition to start on the outside opposite Slay. Diggs, Lawson and Agnew could all be options in the slot.

This is a close-knit cornerback room. I like the makeup of the group, led by Slay.

By the numbers:

55.6: Opponent passer rating in 2017 when throwing in Slay's direction. Slay also led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 passes defended.

5: The total number of interception and fumble return touchdowns for the Lions' defense last season.

53: Opponent plays of 20-plus yards last season, the eighth fewest in the league.

Quotable: "I try to look at everyone like they don't have a name on the back of their jersey," defensive backs coach Brian Stewart said this offseason. "You're just a football player and I'm a coach and we're going to get better, know what to do, know how to do it and do it at a fast pace and a high level."

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