Detroit Lions roster review: Cornerback

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' cornerbacks performed in 2013.

As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2013. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' cornerbacks.

Chris Houston - 12 games (12 starts) | 44 tackles, 1 TFL, 9 PD, 2 INT

Houston had a rough season, to say the least. After playing extremely well in 2012 and earning a new five-year deal, Houston was supposed to be the Lions' No. 1 cornerback. However, he faded pretty quickly after a good start to the 2013 season. He ended up finishing with a -8.1 grade on Pro Football Focus, and he routinely got burned by opposing wide receivers. Some of his struggles could be related to nagging injuries, and the Lions have to be hoping that was the case. They really need him to bounce back in 2014.

Rashean Mathis - 15 games (13 starts) | 47 tackles, 2 TFL, 16 PD, 0 INT

The Lions didn't sign Mathis until mid-August, but he turned out to be their top cornerback by a wide margin in 2013. He led the team in passes defended, and he graded out as their top cornerback with a +5.8 mark on PFF. Mathis will be 34 next August, but he has likely earned himself another deal (in Detroit or somewhere else) given his consistently strong play in 2013.

Bill Bentley - 13 games (5 starts) | 29 tackles, 3 TFL, 5 PD, 0 INT

Bentley served as the Lions' starting nickelback when he was healthy. He had a few solid performances in 2013, as well as several rough games. The end result was a -5.1 grade on PFF. He showed a lot of potential at times, but the Lions could have used more consistency out of Bentley. (That statement really applies to the cornerback position in general, though.)

Darius Slay - 13 games (4 starts) | 34 tackles, 1 TFL, 6 PD, 0 INT

Slay had a tough rookie season. He lost his starting job on multiple occasions early in the season before the Lions decided that Mathis was the better option moving forward. Through the first 12 weeks of the season, Slay actually had a dismal -10.4 grade on PFF. However, he put together an excellent performance on Thanksgiving, and after missing a month because of an injury, he came back and had a decent game in the Lions' season finale. This resulted in him finishing with a -7.0 grade on PFF. That's obviously not good, but hopefully the way he played in his final two games of 2013 will turn out to be a sign of things to come.

Jonte Green - 9 games (2 starts) | 9 tackles, 0 TFL, 3 PD, 0 INT

Green had a tough time breaking into the lineup at cornerback. He got some playing time in Week 4 and did an admirable job (a +1.5 on PFF in a limited amount of snaps), but he didn't play on defense again until Week 15. Injuries piled up at cornerback, and he was forced to play nearly every snap in back-to-back weeks. He recorded a -1.8 and -2.7 in those two games, which isn't exactly very good. Then again, he's got such a small sample size that it's tough to tell what kind of player he could be moving forward, especially with the Lions bringing in so many new coaches on defense.

Chris Greenwood - 3 games (0 starts) | 6 tackles, 0 TFL, 0 PD, 0 INT

Greenwood also has a very small sample size. He spent a few weeks with the Dallas Cowboys after they signed him off the Lions' practice squad, but he returned to Detroit after he was released. At the end of the season, the Lions promoted him to their 53-man roster, and Greenwood got an excellent +2.9 grade on PFF for his play against the New York Giants. He only received a -0.6 in a limited amount of snaps a week later, but Greenwood flashed some potential. He is yet another young cornerback for the Lions who could see a bigger opportunity in 2014 with a new coaching staff in place.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker

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