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Lions getting a 'lockdown corner' in Carlton Davis III

Lions general manager Brad Holmes has made bolstering Detroit's secondary a priority this offseason, especially at cornerback, and it started by landing a key player via trade.

Holmes traded the lower of Detroit's two third-round picks in this year's NFL Draft to Tampa Bay to acquire veteran cornerback Carlton Davis III. Detroit also received a sixth-round pick in this year's draft and a sixth-round pick in 2025 back from the Bucs in the deal.

In Davis, 27, the Lions get an experienced veteran with 75 starts under his belt. Davis has size and length (6-1, 206), and was the No. 1 cornerback in the Bucs' defense. His 73 career passes defended are the fifth most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2018. He ranks second in forced incompletions (81), fifth in forced incompletion percentage (16.9) and 10th in completion percentage against (57.7) since 2018, per Pro Football Focus.

"You about to get a lockdown corner," Davis said in his introductory press conference on Wednesday. "You about to be able to have one side (of the field) just like unavailable. That's what I do. I'm here to take the No. 1 receiver on any team. I'm here to take the ball away.

"You guys play good defense for sure looking forward to getting to know these guys, mesh with these guys, and hoping I can lead them to a Super Bowl."

Davis had two interceptions in 12 starts for the Bucs last season and has been a full-time starter since his rookie year. He allowed four touchdowns and had a 96.1 passer rating against last year, per Pro Football Reference statistics, but missed five games with an assortment of injuries and dealt with a toe injury all year.

In two games against Detroit last year the Lions targeted Davis nine times. He gave up 29 total yards.

"How resilient that group was," Davis said of what he learned about the Lions in those two games last season. "Just the fight and the dog they had. You can tell that the culture is good here. When you're in a tough battle with a team at some point (something) budges when two teams compete really hard and they never budged.

"They kept the same energy. Played with the same physicality. They were just bringing it every play. You recognize and respect those qualities in a team for sure."

The previous four seasons Davis never allowed a passer rating against above 87.6. He has nine career interceptions to go along with those 73 passes defended in six seasons. He brings size and versatility to the collection of veteran cornerbacks Detroit's assembled this offseason to compete for playing time on the outside along with Cam Sutton, who the team signed in free agency last offseason.

Last year, the Lions ranked 30th in yards per pass play (7.15) and 27th in passing yards allowed.

View photos of new Detroit Lions cornerback Carlton Davis III.

Davis' addition instantly makes Detroit's secondary more talented and deeper than it was this time last season. He can play either cornerback spot and takes some of the pressure off Sutton to guard opposing No. 1 receivers.

The team also re-signed Emmanuel Moseley in free agency and reportedly have a deal in place with veteran Amik Robertson.

Brian Branch returns at slot cornerback after a standout rookie season. And Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu are expected back as starters at safety after solid 2023 seasons.

Davis is entering the last year of his contract and due a $14 million base salary this fall.

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