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Detroit Lions mailbag: Which cornerback will start opposite Darius Slay?

We answer your minicamp questions in the first edition of our offseason mailbag.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Since we are about to enter the emptiest part of the offseason, I figured now was a good time to start a new weekly feature. We regularly put out a call for questions for our PODcast mailbag, but we rarely have the time to get to everyone’s submissions.

So starting today, once a week I’ll take the surplus questions and answer the best remaining ones in an article like this. If you would like to submit a question, hit us up on Twitter using the hashtag #AskPOD or keep a lookout for our call for questions here on the site.

As the (censored) Black Eyed Peas once said after a terrible decision to throw around the R-word in the title of their song, Let’s get it started.

And from commenter HeresToHopeful:

Who is cb2?

I know this battle is far from over. All sorts of Teez sighting so far. Not much on the Amani hype train yet. And what is going on with Melvin? Haven’t heard a peep about him.

Will Agnew be an option or is he relegated to backup nickel, behind Coleman?

I’ll throw these two questions together, because they’re somewhat related. Here’s how I see the cornerback depth chart after witnessing minicamp:

CB 1: Darius Slay | Teez Tabor | Amani Oruwariye | Mike Ford
CB 2: Rashaan Melvin | Marcus Cooper | Andre Chachere | Dee Virgin
Nickel: Justin Coleman | Jamal Agnew

I think the Lions’ starters are just about set at this point in Slay, Melvin and Coleman. Melvin hasn’t popped off in OTAs, but he also isn’t making an impression for the wrong reasons.

A player that probably isn’t being talked about enough is Marcus Cooper. The 6-foot-2 corner has the length the Lions want and has made a handful of plays over the past month. Detroit kept him around after claiming him off waivers in November, so they clearly like him. He also has special teams value, so that could give him an inside edge over Tabor if his inconsistencies carry over into training camp.

I’m not touching the first part of this question, but as to the “why do fans not take the player’s side” portion, I think the answer is complicated. I never want to generalize a specific group of fans, and I know there are plenty who have logical reasons to side with the Lions over Damon Harrison and Darius Slay.

I think one of the most common reasons is simple: their allegiance lies with the team, not the individuals. Fans want the Lions to succeed more than anything, and regardless of whether its deserved or not, paying your players more money will make it harder to build a roster around those pieces. It’s honestly as simple as that.

Throw in the fact that both players in this specific instance have two years remaining on their deal, and fans would simply rather see this issue kicked down the road a year. This is a time of year Lions fans like to be optimistic, so negative press like this in June is probably particularly annoying—especially fresh of the Calvin Johnson stuff.

Give me a playoff win. No question. The last time the Lions won a playoff game, I was five years old and riding around in a Batman bike with a cape flailing behind.

I get the excitement of having the first overall pick, but not even that is guaranteed success. A playoff win is not potential. It’s real. It’s actual results and it would be a sign—finally a real sign—that this team was headed in the right direction. And we would never have to hear a Bears fan taunting Matthew Stafford for never winning a playoff game again.

Where do I sign?

From commenter jjones164

If you had to bet on 5 players that will be Lions in 5 years, who would you pick?

Love this question.

I happen to know for a fact that the Lions coaching staff is absolutely thrilled with their 2018 NFL Draft class, so I’m going to take at least three from there. Give me Frank Ragnow, Tracy Walker and Da’Shawn Hand. I’m only leaving out Kerryon Johnson because of injury concerns and the general short shelf life of NFL running backs.

T.J. Hockenson better still be on the team by then, so he’s a gimme. I’m leaving the rest of the 2019 draft class out of this until I see them play a single snap.

To round things out, I’m going with Kenny Golladay. Though the sax man will be 30 in five years, I think he’s arguably the best offensive weapon Detroit has, and I think he’s a great fit for the culture the Lions are trying to build.

Others in consideration were Matthew Stafford and Jarrad Davis. Both have the complete support of the coaching staff, but Stafford will be 36 and through his current contract, and Davis just hasn’t put it together yet.

This is a tough question to answer since “good production” is a little vague, but give me the all-star rookie. At this point, I have a good amount of faith in Bob Quinn and his scouting department. Losing the all-star rookie would result in a third-round compensatory pick, and if drafting is done right, the Lions should be able to reload the talent via the draft and free agency.

Although I value continuity more than most, an All-Pro talent has the opportunity to turn a middle-of-the-pack team into a serious contender. I’ll take four/five years of that and press my luck on a compensatory pick when he’s gone.

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