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Robertson's competitiveness makes him a good fit for Lions' defense

The Detroit Lions are expecting one of the best competitions for starting jobs, playing time and roster spots to occur in the secondary at cornerback during training camp.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes said after drafting Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. to a room that already included veterans Carlton Davis III, Brian Branch, Amik Robertson, Emmanuel Moseley and others, that he expected the competition to be a 'bloodbath.'

Head coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday he loves the fact that there is so much uncertainty at cornerback at this time of year and he thinks it's a great place to be in as a team.

"We have so many options right now, so much competitiveness," he said. "AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) and I were talking about it again, Brad and I are talking about it every evening. The talent level, the competitiveness, the versatility. Honestly, we have no idea who our starting lineup is going to be right now and it's exciting. It's so good.

"There's no telling who's going to be outside corners, who's going to be our nickel, who's going to be our safeties. This thing is wide open across the board. It's going to be great to let these guys compete and just go after it and see who goes and is going to be the most reliable guys for us, most dependable. It's exciting."

One of the reasons the Lions signed Robertson in free agency, besides his unique ability to play outside corner and in the nickel at 5-foot-8, is his compete level.

"The first thing was his competitiveness," Campbell said Tuesday when asked why Robertson was such a good fit for Glenn's defense. "You just said it, I don't care if he's inside or outside, the guy competes. He is a feisty, competitive, challenging corner who has versatility to play in and out. That's always going to appeal to us.

"The more flexibility you have in and out is always going to – because you can do more jobs right? It's easier to get you into the game. But the first thing that pops off the tape is how much he challenges and competes. There was no denying that, so we knew he would fit right in here with us."

Robertson, 25, is a former fourth-round pick by the Las Vegas Raiders out of Louisiana Tech in 2020. He has played in 52 games over the last four seasons with 21 starts. He started 12 games for Las Vegas last season with 50 tackles (38 solo), two interceptions and six passes defended. Opponents completed less than 60 percent of the passes thrown his way with an 87.4 passer rating and three touchdowns.

He's played over 600 snaps (60 percent) in each of the last two seasons for the Raiders both in the nickel and outside. He's played both spots in Detroit so far this spring, but with Branch out with an injury, he's gotten most of the nickel reps with the first-team unit.

"I'm a very competitive person, man," Robertson said after practice Tuesday. "I know what kind of player I am and what kind of player I can be. I got this far by being a competitive person. Each and every day I try to do what I can to kind of separate myself and do the little things, but also continuing to help my teammates as well, helping us get out there and ball."

Robertson has a toughness, swagger and confidence about him that all good cornerbacks have. He hopes to use those to eventually earn an impact role on defense, wherever that might end up being.

"Overall, I'm a football player," he said. "Wherever they need me, nickel, corner, I can put myself in a position to make plays and that's what they expect from me. That's why I'm here. Whatever they need me to do, man, that's what I'm going to do."

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