S Alonzo Lawrence (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) - Undrafted Free Agent
The story of how Alonzo Lawrence made it to the NFL is a fascinating one. Coming out of high school, he was a highly rated recruit and signed with Alabama. Things didn't work out at Alabama, resulting in him landing at Southern Miss. He ultimately ended up at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and now he is a member of the Detroit Lions after signing with them as an undrafted free agent.
A 6-foot-2, 218-pound cornerback, Lawrence excels in man-to-man coverage. [His former coach Scott Campbell] said he’s a cornerback for a Cover-2 team (the Lions play Cover-2 sometimes), but he could be a safety in another scheme. He loves to tackle. Make no mistake, Lawrence is a sick, sick athlete. (YouTube him.) He first became a hot commodity in the South when he shut down Julio Jones in the 2007 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game, holding Jones to zero catches. Yup, that’ll get people to notice. [...]
"Alonzo is built like a big, physical safety," Campbell said. "But he’s got hips and the coverage ability of a corner. I could see him playing corner for some cover-2 teams and he does fine in man coverage. Or, I could see somebody just putting him at safety and him doing really well there, because he will tackle, he’s physical and he does have coverage skills. I’m not sure he’s Devin Hester, few are, but he can catch the ball and get it back up field for you (on special teams). I really see him being a factor."
Outlook for 2012
Lawrence seems like he could be this year's Ricardo Silva. During the 2011 preseason, Silva, who was an undrafted free agent, played extremely well and made a strong case for being included on the 53-man roster. There just wasn't room for him, resulting in Silva being signed to the practice squad. With Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey projected to be the starters and Erik Coleman back as a backup, three spots at safety appear to be occupied. The fourth spot is likely to go to John Wendling, who is outstanding on special teams. With so many corners battling for spots, it's unlikely a fifth safety will be kept around, and even if that did happen, Silva is currently ahead of Lawrence. To make a long story short, Lawrence's best hopes of sticking around seem to be by landing on the practice squad.
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