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Notes: Justin Coleman an ‘underrated talent’, top 5 slot cornerback in NFL

Coleman got some high praise from PFF over the weekend.

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With the season still months away, now’s the time for an in-depth look at who the Lions picked up during the offseason and what contributions they’ll make come fall, including a much-needed upgrade at cornerback.

In March, the Lions signed Justin Coleman to a a four-year $36 million deal, which made him—at the time— the highest-paid slot cornerback in the league. Citing his two-year marks in press coverage from the slot, Pro Football Focus’s Austin Gayle has penned an in-depth piece* on just how big of a get Coleman is for the Lions, calling him a top-five slot corner in the league.

*Requires a subscription to PFF Edge.

According to PFF, Coleman ranked fourth in slot coverage among the 31 players who played 400-plus snaps at slot cornerback in the last two seasons, with a grade of 84.3. On top of that, he ranked seventh in passer rating allowed at 84.5 and eighth in forced incompletion percentage at 12.7 percent.

Some help in that area could prove pretty useful, as the Lions ranked 24th in forced incompletion percentage at 9.3 percent. Among NFC North opponents, the Chicago Bears rank the highest at 12.9 percent.

In 52 games, Coleman tallied 126 tackles, two sacks, three interceptions, two touchdowns and 27 passes defended. According to this PFF article, he could be just what the Lions need.

  • Training camp reporting dates are out!

  • Barry Sanders, the golfer? The Lions legend will play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic pro-am on Wednesday. He’ll be joined by another Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis, a Detroit native.

  • This was a fun thread. To celebrate the year’s longest day, PFF listed the longest plays by a Detroit player (in the PFF era).

  • With a ways to go until the season begins, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press offers five milestone predictions about the Lions this fall, including Kerryon Johnson reaching 1,000 rushing yards and 353 receptions for Theo Riddick.

  • Redemption? Marvin Jones Jr. and the gang are back with the first episode of the 2019 What’s Inside the Box series. If you haven’t seen it, players reach into a box that contains an item that the audience can see, but they can’t. They have to guess what it is, and it turns out a few of them are little.... jumpy.

I’ll be real, I absolutely love these. Watching these tough, physical players all skittish just cracks me up. I feel Da’Shawn Hand, who at the beginning said “If it’s something alive, I’m whooping a**,” stole the show, and I just love Matthew Stafford totally unfazed by any of it, then very quickly identifying Mr. Potato Head. Three babies will do that for ya.

  • 97.1 The Ticket, which must be sang when read, says the Lions have a few options for adding some late talent to the roster.

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