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O'HARA'S DRAFT PREVIEW: 5 safeties that could interest Lions

It isn't likely to be "safeties first" when the Detroit Lions start taking players to build the defense in the upcoming draft, but general manager Brad Holmes sees strength in that position.

"There are some positions of strength," Holmes said in one of his offseason Zoom interviews.

"I think that the safety class is deep, and there's a lot of value to be found at that position at really all levels throughout the process."

The Lions have youth throughout the secondary. They already have two young safeties from recent drafts in Tracy Walker and Will Harris.

Walker was a third-round pick out of Louisiana in 2018. He was tracking to be a full-time starter, with 12 starts in 13 games in 2019. He dropped back to seven starts in 15 games in 2020.

Harris was a third-round pick out of Boston College in 2019. He played all 32 games with 11 starts in his first two seasons.

Versatility is a valuable trait for a safety. There is a premium for safeties who can play the run and defend the pass.

Trevon Moehrig of TCU is rated by most analysts as the top safety in this draft. He is expected to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second.

Moehrig spoke after his Pro Day workout about the leadership responsibilities of a safety, and the value of versatility in making the leap from college to the pros.

"Kind of the quarterback of the defense," he said. "Playing at TCU allowed me to play different spots on the field and show my versatility. I just want to be the best at whatever position they put me in."

Following is the Lions' depth chart at safety, the position's draft strength, the Lions' draft priority and five safeties who could interest the Lions.

Lions' depth chart: Tracy Walker, Will Harris, Dean Marlowe, Jalen Elliott, C.J. Moore, Bobby Price.

Position draft strength and Lions' priority: An average year with no standout star. If the Lions draft a safety it likely will be late in Day 2 or Day 3.

Five safeties who could interest the Lions:

1. Trevon Moehrig, TCU

6-2, 202

Stats line: Three-year player, 34 games, closed out career in 2020 by winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the country's top defensive back. Last two seasons: Six interceptions, 26 passes defended, 3.5 tackles for loss.

How he could fit the Lions: Solid overall, and has shown ability to play deep and in the slot.

2. Jevon Holland, Oregon

6-1, 196

Stats line: Opted out in 2020 after two big seasons. 2018: Five interceptions, 11 passes defended. 2019: Four interceptions, eight passes defended, 4.5 tackles for loss.

How he could fit the Lions: Plays hard, with good ball skills.

3. Richie Grant, Central Florida

6-0, 194

Stats line: Four-year player, 48 career games with 35 starts, all in the last three seasons. Showed his versatility as a full-time starter for the first time in 2018 with 109 tackles and six interceptions, both career highs. Ended up with 10 career interceptions.

How he could fit the Lions: Competitive and creates turnovers.

4. Andre Cisco, Syracuse

6-0, 200

Stats line: Three-year starter, with 24 career games. Season-ending injury in Game 2 vs. Georgia Tech in 2020 proved to be his last for Syracuse. Had 13 career interceptions and 29 passes defended.

How he could fit the Lions: The numbers give the answer -- 42 plays on the ball (interceptions, passes defended) in 24 games.

5. Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State

6-4, 220

Stats line: Impressive all-around player who has more than size going for him. Four-year player with 18 starts in 39 games. Injuries limited him to the last two games of 2020. Played 12 games with 10 starts in 2019.

How he could fit the Lions: Size and experience at safety and linebacker provide versatility.

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