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Where the Lions roster stands: Cornerback

A breakdown of the Detroit Lions' cornerbacks and what needs they may have at the position.

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As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We continue the series with a look at the Lions' cornerbacks.

Under contract: Darius Slay (2016), Bill Bentley (2015), Nevin Lawson (2017), Mohammed Seisay (2015), Crezdon Butler (2015)

Free agents: Rashean Mathis (UFA), Cassius Vaughn (UFA), Josh Thomas (UFA)

Thanks to the rise of Darius Slay last season, the Lions finally have someone they can build around at cornerback. It remains to be seen if Slay will end up developing into a shutdown type of cornerback, but he's well on his way after a stellar 2014 season.

At the other starting spot, the Lions are hoping to bring back Rashean Mathis, who also had a stellar 2014 season. Even though he's 34 years old, Mathis still seems to have a lot left in the tank, and getting him back under contract should be a top priority for the Lions.

Once you get beyond the starting spots, there is a lot of uncertainty at cornerback. At nickelback, for example, will Bill Bentley or Nevin Lawson step it up and take control of that role after suffering season-ending injuries early in 2014? And just from a depth standpoint, will Mohammed Seisay or Crezdon Butler emerge as a dependable backup? Along the same lines, will Cassius Vaughn or Josh Thomas be re-signed as the Lions look to add more depth to the position? These are just some of the questions the Lions are facing at cornerback.

Need going forward?

If the Lions re-sign Mathis, they will have their two starters back from last season. They could still look to pursue a top-tier cornerback, though, especially if they lose defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and have a bunch of cap space to use. They could also look to take a cornerback early in the draft this year, giving them extra depth in the short term and a hopeful future starter in the long term.

The Lions could also be in the market for an upgrade at nickelback. They could very well decide to just roll the dice with Bentley and Lawson, but, again, they're both coming off season-ending injuries. It could be risky to bank on them, and I suppose the same is true for Seisay and Butler when it comes to the overall depth at this position. The Lions simply need more talent at cornerback, and this is a position that could receive attention both in free agency and the draft.

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

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