"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 safeties.
2015 safeties: Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Don Carey, Isaiah Johnson
2016 safeties: Glover Quin, Rafael Bush, Tavon Wilson, Don Carey, Miles Killebrew, Isaiah Johnson
The Detroit Lions made quite a few changes to their safety depth chart. The Lions let James Ihedigbo and Isa Abdul-Quddus hit free agency, while replacing them with Rafael Bush and Tavon Wilson. Additionally, Detroit spent a fourth-round draft pick on Miles Killebrew to perhaps take over the strong safety position sometime down the road.
Did they improve?
At this point, the answer has to be no. One of the perplexing offseason moves from Bob Quinn was his refusal to re-sign Isa Abdul-Quddus. Abdul-Quddus took over strong safety duties after James Ihedigbo lost the starting job and did an excellent job as a replacement. Abdul-Quddus is just 26-years-old, and seemed like he could potentially lock down that position for the next few years.
Regardless, Quinn decided to look elsewhere for filling the saftey position and landed Bush during free agency, who is currently expected to be the starter. Bush has only started 14 games in his six-year career, so the Lions are taking a huge chance by pushing the former Saint into a starting role.
That being said, the Lions did a good job building depth and planning for the future with the additions of Wilson and Killebrew respectively. Killebrew has a big hill to climb to win the starting safety job alongside Glover Quin, but could very well take it before the season is done.
What about compared to 2014?
2014 safeties: Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Don Carey
The Lions' 2014 safeties were essentially the exact same as they were in 2015, except Ihedigbo was still playing at a respectable level and Abdul-Quddus hadn't quite broken out yet. The Lions were pretty set at safety back in 2014, but in 2016, they are still trying to figure things out. They were clearly better in 2014.