TWENTYMAN: Coleman proving to be a great addition for Lions

Cornerback Justin Coleman went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2015 and played his first two seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots when Matt Patricia was defensive coordinator.

Coleman only started three games during his time in New England, but he had a knack for the football and broke up eight passes.

He joined Seattle in 2017 and in two seasons playing mostly in the slot, Coleman broke up 19 passes.

Familiar with Patricia and his schemes from their time together in New England, Coleman signed a free-agent deal with the Lions this offseason, and has been exactly the kind of player the Lions have needed in that slot role – a terrific cover man with ball skills.

Coleman’s six passes defended in four games is tied for the NFL lead. He’s currently the No. 2 overall graded cornerback and No. 3 cover corner by Pro Football Focus.

In four games, Coleman has 11 tackles, six passes defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He defended multiple passes in back-to-back games against Philadelphia and Kansas City.

He’s been a real difference maker through the first month of the season.

Asked about Coleman this week, Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said what he liked about Coleman the most is the way he just goes about his business, lines up, competes and battles every play.

“He’s lining up on really good inside receivers all the time,” Pasqualoni said. “He really competes. You guys see it. He plays hard. You started the conversation by saying, ‘What do you like about what you’re seeing?’ Playing hard and competing. That guy competes. He competes hard. That has meant a lot. I think it’s reflective of how hard the guys are working.”

Coleman’s been a terrific free-agent addition so far. He's someone the Lions can trust inside to do a lot of the work that it takes to be a good slot corner in this league.

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