As we start to look ahead to training camp, we're going to take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions roster. Next up is the cornerback position. (The final year of each player's contract is listed in parentheses.)
Back from last season: Darius Slay (2016), Rashean Mathis (2016), Nevin Lawson (2017), Mohammed Seisay (2015)
New to the team: Alex Carter (2018), Quandre Diggs (2018), Josh Wilson (2015), Chris Owens (2015), Crezdon Butler (2015)
At this time a year ago, the big question mark at cornerback revolved around Darius Slay and whether he would truly take a step forward in his second season in the league. The Lions really needed him to improve after a shaky rookie season, and there was a lot of hype surrounding him in the offseason. Luckily for the Lions, Slay delivered and became a very reliable cornerback. With him paired with Rashean Mathis, the Lions suddenly had an extremely talented set of starters at the cornerback position, and both players are back again in 2015.
This year, the big question mark revolves around the nickelback spot. Bill Bentley has been released, leaving Nevin Lawson, Josh Wilson and Quandre Diggs as the main competition for this role. Lawson is coming off a season-ending injury, while Wilson and Diggs are new to the team. Diggs left a pretty positive impression on the Lions during offseason workouts despite being a sixth-round pick earlier this year, so he may be the favorite for this job going into training camp.
The group of non-starters who won't be competing for the nickelback role is led by third-round pick Alex Carter. The expectation is for him to spend his rookie season learning behind Slay and Mathis as the Lions' primary backup at the outside cornerback spots. The Lions also have Mohammed Seisay, Chris Owens and Crezdon Butler, who will all try to make the team as extra depth at cornerback and contributors on special teams.
Need going forward?
The Lions actually had a bit of a logjam at cornerback before they decided to part ways with Bentley, and that is still sort of true at the nickel spot. That's definitely a good problem to have, but the depth does sort of seem a bit thin at the outside spots. We know Carter is making the team as long as he's healthy, but the Lions could use some experienced depth behind Slay and Mathis. Then again, with how limited the spots already are at this position, it's tough to even find room for another possible addition on the 53-man roster anyway.