Early in draft season, easily the most popular mock draft pick for the Detroit Lions was LSU cornerback Greedy Williams. Way back in early December, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller mocked him to Detroit, and a couple month later, ESPN’s Todd McShay followed suit.
The pick makes some logical sense, as the Lions are definitely in the market for a talented cornerback to play beside Darius Slay. We know Detroit places a high value on the position, as they went after some of the biggest free agent targets last year.
But with rumors flowing in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, Lions fan may want to consider a different cornerback prospect to fall in love with. According to Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon—who is currently in Indianapolis for the Combine—the Lions may not be as interested in Williams as these mocks suggest.
Here’s what Risdon wrote in his NFL Combine Day 2 recap over at RealGM.com:
I asked one Detroit Lions staffer about the common sight of LSU CB Greedy Williams as the team’s first-round pick in mock drafts. His answer was curtly dismissive, “Our cornerbacks need to tackle.” Ouch.
Of course, one has to question the motives of a Lions staff member being so blunt and honest with a member of the media. Why give something like that away? The possibility of this being a smokescreen is definitely raised.
But this criticism of Williams does fall in line with Detroit’s perceived preference for cornerbacks. Corners in Matt Patricia’s defense tend to be big and physical, and those are two traits that don’t exactly define Greedy Williams. Williams is listed as 6-foot-3, but just 184 pounds by LSU’s official site (hasn’t measured at the NFL Combine yet), while other potential draft picks (Amani Oruwariye: 6-foot-1, 203; Rock Ya-Sin: 6-foot-2, 190) are a little thicker and play a little dirtier.
And earlier in the week, head coach Matt Patricia talked about the importance of tackling from every position on defense.
“I put a high priority on tackling just in general for our team,” Patricia said when asked about the importance of that skill among cornerbacks. “I don’t think we can change that depending on whatever position it is, but you’ve got to try and find the right balance. Obviously, the biggest thing they’ve got to be able to do is cover in those situations.”
“Understand that some of the players on the other side of the ball are pretty good, too. They’re going to catch the ball, and what you want to make sure that happens is that they tackle right away and they don’t turn those plays—whatever they are—into bigger plays.”
But at this point in time, it’s important to take every little new nugget with a grain of salt. Does it make sense that the Lions would not be all that interested in Williams? Sure. Does that mean, definitively, they won’t draft him? Absolutely not.