One area where the Detroit Lions have struggled over the years is in the secondary. Teams normally could guarantee that they were going to have a ton of passing yards on a weekly basis & just try to make sure their own defenses didn’t give up a bunch of points to counteract that.
Last season, the Lions secondary made some major strides in becoming one of the better units in the NFL. Yes, they ranked 22nd in the league in passing yards given up last year, but Darius Slay & Glover Quin are proving each week that they are getting better with experience. As a unit, the Lions had 9 interceptions last year, and showed the team can make plays with tackling, as well.
Quin & Slay are going to be the cornerstones of the secondary as a whole, but with Rashean Mathis now retired, the Lions will most likely look to 3rd year backup cornerback Nevin Lawson to step into a position to take on #2 or #3 wide receivers on the outside or in the slot. Quandre Diggs had a solid year in many 2nd & third down situations, but he will be counted on much more in 2016, gaining learning experience from his rookie year. Diggs has the solid speed, but has to work more on his hand placement when playing in coverage.
The competition is going to be fierce for corners & safeties all the way until the first week of the regular season, with many young players needing to continue to become comfortable with the Teryl Austin defense. One big player to look out for in training camp is going to be Miles Killebrew, drafted in the 4th round out of Southern Utah. He is 6’2″, good hitter & has some excellent ball tracking skills. At the NFL combine, Killebrew had the best bench reps, vertical jump & broad jump for safeties. He looks like a linebacker, but he is a big hitter & could see some time early on special teams, but if he has a great training camp, don’t be surprised if he gets some serious playing time come the preseason & regular season.