Chris Houston #23 of the Detroit Lions unsuccessfully tries to intercept a pass intended for Lee Evans #83 of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
At this point in the offseason, depth charts are far from being set in stone. Until training camp and preseason games happen, very few spots on the depth chart are truly locked up. August is really the time when things like position battles will start to be settled. For now, depth charts are merely an early indicator of where things stand for teams as OTAs get underway.
One of the positions for the Lions where there will be plenty of battles come August is cornerback. There are a lot of younger players at the position, and with the departure of Eric Wright earlier in the offseason, there is an opportunity for the younger players to step up and see the field.
During Monday's organized team activity, we got a bit of a glimpse of the current depth chart at cornerback. In reality, the Lions may not have a depth chart established for a position like cornerback right now, but it's pretty clear which players would be starting if the season were just around the corner.
Jacob Lacey taking treps in nickel package— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 21, 2012
Chris Houston has been a starter since coming to Detroit, and that shouldn't change in 2011. Aaron Berry had a rough finish to the 2011 season (both on the field and on Twitter), but the Lions clearly like what they see in him. Berry quickly rose up the depth chart as an undrafted free agent back in 2010 before suffering an injury, and as it stands right now, he is in line to become a full-time starter in 2012.
New Lion Jacob Lacey appears to have the edge for the slot role in the nickel package right now. He was signed earlier in the offseason and is poised to take over Wright's spot in the package, although he will likely have to fend off some of the rookie cornerbacks during training camp.
Beyond Houston, Berry and Lacey, the Lions also have a veteran in Alphonso Smith at cornerback. Chris Greenwood, Bill Bentley and Jonte Green are all draft picks from this year, and Ross Weaver was signed on a futures deal after spending time on the practice squad last season. Don Carey, who played cornerback last year, was practicing at safety on Monday. In all likelihood, his best chance to make the team is by shifting over to safety given that the Lions do have three draft picks at cornerback.
While there isn't a top-tier corner on the team, the Lions have a decent amount of talent at cornerback and probably can get by with the players currently on the team in 2012. The key is for the Lions' top contributors to stay healthy. Last season, the secondary wasn't all that bad until injuries ravaged it. That's when guys like Matt Flynn and Drew Brees were able to go crazy on the Lions' pass defense. Of course, with more depth overall next season, perhaps a rookie or two will step up and give the Lions a bit of a security blanket in case a starter does go down with an injury. It may take time for them to develop given that Greenwood, Bentley and Green all are coming from small schools, but I'm sure the Lions are hoping to get contributions from them sooner rather than later.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Lions' cornerbacks?