Caldwell: Lions have a 'very competitive situation' at safety

Competition breeds success in this league, and one of the main objectives Lions general manager Bob Quinn had in free agency was improving the overall depth and talent on this roster.

Quinn signed multiple veteran players in free agency with starting experience in an effort to bolster the depth of the roster. In doing so, the competition this spring and into training camp at a number of spots should be fun to watch.

One of those competitions to keep a close eye on will be for the starting strong safety spot opposite starting free safety and Pro Bowler Glover Quin.

The team signed former Saints starter Rafael Bush, 28, and brief starter in New England Tavon Wilson, 26, via free agency to compete with Don Carey and Isaiah Johnson for the job.

Both Bush and Wilson said in conference calls after their signings that nothing has been promised to either of them other than the chance to compete.

"It's up to me to develop my role on this football team," Wilson said. "And that's what I'm going to do. I take it one day at a time. I'm just here trying to learn everybody and get familiar with everything and when that time comes to develop my role, I'll have an opportunity to do that."

Wilson started four games as a rookie in 2012 for New England after being a second-round pick out of Illinois, but he was mainly a special teams performer the last three seasons. In Detroit, he'll be given an opportunity to win a role on defense.

"I can see that," Caldwell said of Wilson playing defense in Detroit at last month's NFL League Meetings. "It's going to be a very competitive situation at that position.

"He's a guy that's had a lot of experience in a system that's certainly proven to be very good. He's a guy that works extremely hard. Additionally, he played special teams. I know he's looking forward to an opportunity to compete."

So is Bush, whose 2015 season lasted just 21 snaps before suffering a torn pectoral muscle in the opener.

Bush enters his sixth NFL season following previous stints with Atlanta (2010), Denver (2011) and New Orleans (2012-15). He's played in 46 career games and has 14 starts over the last three seasons.

"Rafael has played a lot of football," Caldwell said. "You can tell that he certainly had a real good sense of the defensive schemes he's been in. He's been in a complex one where they did quite a bit and expected him to do a bunch.

"He's a guy that can also play deep and play in the box. He's a willing tackler. He'll get after you. He throws his body around and he wants to be good. He's got a real desire to be a great player. We're looking forward to working with him."

Johnson should be a much better player in year two with an opportunity to get a full offseason under his belt, and Carey has worn a number of different hats over the years in Teryl Austin's defense.

There will be a new look to the back end of Austin's defense, but exactly how it looks will depend on who rises to the top at the end of August.

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