Yesterday, after reading through the comments of one of our Community Mock Draft picks, specifically the one with our Lions selecting Deone Bucannon, I saw some differing opinions on whether we even have a need at the safety position. I've seen some believe that it is our biggest need moving forward, and others believe that it shouldn't even be considered a need at all. So how can this topic be so polarizing?
On one side, you can argue that we have our starters in place. Quin is likely our starting FS moving forward, and Ihedigbo was brought in to play SS. So why should we draft a safety in the first or second round if he's not going to be a starter right away? It's hard to tell for sure, but do we even know if the Lions feel like Ihedigbo is their guy at SS? If you look at his contract, he was signed for 2 years on a $3.15 million deal. Everyone was shocked to see a deal so cheap for a proven starter. I'm beginning to wonder if there was a reason why this deal was so cheap. The Lions could be planning to draft a safety high, and if they get a guy they like, they may believe that he can step in and challenge Ihedigbo for his starting job. If they do draft someone like Bucannon in the 2nd round, he could end up winning the starting role, and there is really no harm done with Ihedigbo's contract because it's a short-term deal, and a cheap one. His cap hit for this year is only $1.1 million.
Also, I've seen some polarizing opinions in terms of our depth at the safety position. Currently, we have Don Carey, DeJon Gomes, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, and Isa Abdul-Quddus as our backup safeties. The Lions have faith in Don Carey and re-signed him to a deal this year, but how much faith do we have in the rest of our backups?
According to PFF, Don Carey was the worst graded defensive player on our team besides Chris Houston. He received a -7.6 overall grade, with a -8.5 pass coverage grade. This was on only 204 snaps on defense. Not very promising for a backup. And can we really depend on guys like Gomes, Owusu-Ansah, and Abdul-Quddus? Sure, they have some starting experience, but what does that even mean? If you start for a team with a thin secondary, that doesn't ensure you're good player. We can't guarantee that these guys will even make the roster by the time the season starts. They're late round picks/UDFA's that were cut from their previous teams as backups. We have a new coaching staff that is unfamiliar with these players, and they could end up getting the same treatment.
Lastly, I feel like we as fans may be missing something when it comes to our new-look defense. It's been said that we will be keeping a 4-3 defense, but are we sure that we won't see any 3-4 looks? I have a feeling that Austin has a few tricks up his sleeve, and may switch things up a bit. We could see a lot of bodies running on and off the field. This could give a guy like Deone Bucannon the chance to receive snaps as an extra linebacker in the box, as well as taking some snaps away from Ihedigbo at the SS position if they move him up in the box.
So I present you the question, how big of a need is the safety position for the Lions moving forward? And discuss whether you believe it is a smart idea to select one in the top few rounds.