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Did the Detroit Lions improve at cornerback in 2016?

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With their veteran leader gone, but the youngsters with one more year of experience, will the Lions cornerbacks take the next step this season?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

"Did the Lions improve?" is our latest series analyzing the Detroit Lions' roster in comparison to their 7-9 2015 season. Next up, we look at the cornerbacks.

2015 CBs: Darius Slay, Rashean Maths, Alex Carter, Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs, Josh Wilson, Crezdon Butler, Bill Bentley
2016 CBs: Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, Alex Carter, Quandre Diggs, Darrin Walls, Johnson Bademosi, Crezdon Butler, Adairius Barnes, Ian Wells, Charles Washington

The Detroit Lions did not make a ton of moves at secondary, just simply turned the page on a few veterans. Rashean Mathis was lost to retirement, while Josh Wilson remains an unsigned free agent. The Lions did bring in Johnson Bademosi and Darrin Walls to fill out depths, but the starters remain the same.

Did they improve?

The losses of Mathis and Wilson are negligible, as both of them did not play for the majority of the 2015 season, and when they did play, they tended to struggle. The biggest question at the cornerback position is the role Alex Carter will play for the team this year. The second-year player lost his entire rookie season to an ankle that sidelined him for training camp, as well. Carter was a third-round pick, so the Lions are likely banking on him making a difference, if not this year, then soon. He'll have a chance to compete with Nevin Lawson for the starting cornerback role opposite Darius Slay. Lawson, too, is a budding cornerback, but struggled at times last year.

Outside of Carter, the additions of Johnson Bademosi and Darrin Walls will help out the special teams units. But, overall, whether this unit has improved almost entirely relies upon the improvements of Lawson, Carter and even Quandre Diggs.

What about compared to 2014?

2014 CBs: Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis, Cassius Vaughn, Bill Bentley, Nevin Lawson, Mohammed Seisay, Josh Thomas

The Lions almost had no depth at the position back in 2014. Though Mathis was still playing at a high level, Darius Slay was still developing and the duo had no reliable depth behind them. I think it is safe to say that with a more experience Lawson and Slay on the roster now, Detroit is in better shape than they were two years ago.

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