On the roster: Tracy Walker, Will Harris, Dean Marlowe, C.J. Moore, Bobby Price, D'Angelo Amos, Jalen Elliott, Alijah Holder, Godwin Igwebuike
Key losses: Duron Harmon, Jayron Kearse
^with another team *college stats
Best competition: Two starting spots
Walker is a favorite to earn one of the starting spots as he looks to have a bounce-back season after an admittedly underwhelming 2020 campaign for him. Walker is back to playing more of a free safety role that allows him to roam and read, which better suits his game.
Marlowe comes over from Buffalo where he was the third safety behind Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and is excited about the opportunity here in Detroit to compete for a starting spot. He and Harris both took first-team reps in OTAs and minicamp opposite Walker, and that should be a pretty good competition come training camp.
Twentyman's take: It was a pretty underperforming group as a whole last year for the Lions. The position allowed 13 touchdown receptions in their coverage area, per Pro Football Focus statistics. Walker received his lowest grade from Pro Football Focus, and was credited with allowing a completion percentage of 73.5 in his coverage area with seven touchdowns and an opposing passer rating of 142.6.
Marlowe gets an opportunity to compete for a starting spot, and the hope is he's an upgrade over Harmon.
I expect Walker to be better in 2021, but the real wild card is Harris, who is entering his third season. Can new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn get the most out of Harris, a former third-round pick?
Moore, Price, Elliott, Holder and Igwebuike all have NFL experience, and Amos will try to make his mark in camp as a rookie. Overall, there's depth at safety, but the Lions need much better play across the board at the position if the secondary is going to be better than it was a year ago.
By the numbers:
73: Opponent plays of 20-plus yards, which ranked 28th in the NFL.
112.4: Passer rating for opposing quarterbacks against the Lions' defense last year.
190: Combined tackles for Walker the last two seasons.
Quotable: "That's one area where our depth is pretty good right now, for sure," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said this offseason of the safety position. "It's not the only area, but yet, I would say just overall, we feel pretty good about that unit as it pertains to having depth and competition. Let the best men rise to the top, because whoever the best is out of both safety positions, are probably going to be pretty solid players for us. We feel real good about it."