Often times when a team makes a significant coaching hire, that new member of the staff brings some familiar players along with him. Just look back to last year after the Detroit Lions hired Darrell Bevell. Eventually, the Lions brought in running back J.D. McKissic, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and even offensive guard Oday Aboushi, all three players with a history playing under Bevell.
So could the same thing happen with new Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin? Unlike Bevell, Undlin has never been a coordinator, so it’s possible he’ll only be pulling defensive backs since that has been the position he’s coached for the majority of his career.
With that all in mind, Erik Schlitt of Lions Wire looked at several upcoming free agent defensive backs that have some sort of history with Undlin.
The Lions could certainly use some of these players—highlighted by former All Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr.—considering the poor performance of Detroit’s cornerbacks last season and the uncertain future for both Darius Slay and Rashaan Melvin, the team’s two starters in 2019.
- Former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli, who was let go by the Dallas Cowboys after their coaching overhaul, has landed on his feet already and will be the Raiders’ next defensive line coach:
Raiders coach Jon Gruden has fired respected defensive line coach Brenston Buckner and is expected to replace him with Rod Marinelli. Under Buckner, the Raiders improved from 13 sacks in 2018 to 32 this year, and from 30th against the run to 8th.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 14, 2020
- Cool honor for Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara. He has been nominated for the inaugural “Anything But Ordinary Player of the Year Award“ which celebrates players for their creative off-field achievements. Okwara was nominated for his photography, including his amazing gallery on New York City firefighters.
You can vote for Okwara here. And be sure to do so, because right now he’s in 21st place out of 32. Give him the POD bump.
- If you missed it last night during the National Championship game, Barry Sanders was named to the Top 10 College Football Players of All-Time Monday night:
When I was a kid I dreamed of meeting a college football player. To be ranked as one of the top 10 players in history is an honor I will never forget. @CowboyFB @okstate @OKStateAlumni @NCAA @HeismanTrophy #WishDadCouldHaveSeenThis pic.twitter.com/ONTbgXw3ud— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) January 14, 2020
- Senior Bowl executive Jim Nagy believes Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown is a better college prospect than Ndamukong Suh. That’s a bold claim considering Suh received Heisman consideration, but the Detroit Free Press caught up with Nagy to explain why he believes this.
- Matthew Stafford is king of the Arm Punts
Average air yards on interceptions this year.... both Cousins and Garoppolo have thrown more picks than you'd like to see close to the LOS, and we've seen each do it so far today. pic.twitter.com/31woSADbrM— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) January 11, 2020
In fact, Chase Stuart followed this tweet up, noting that four of Stafford’s five interceptions in 2019 were at least 30 yards downfield:
Stafford threw 5 INTs this year. All 5 came 20+ yards downfield, with 4 of them being 30+ yards downfield.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) January 11, 2020
And two were negligible in terms of actually mattering.
- Kyle Meinke of MLive has the top five issues facing new Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.