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2020 Detroit Lions positional preview: Safety depth is a serious need

The Lions are probably set with their starters, but they need depth as safety.

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Youth is the name of the game for the Detroit Lions safeties. The Lions have used a third-round pick on the position in back-to-back years, and now the Lions enter 2020 with two starting safeties at the ages of 24 and 25.

But the safety position is a coveted one by the Lions and beyond Tracy Walker and Will Harris, Detroit is lacking both bodies and talent. So while most of the offseason attention is surrounding the cornerbacks (and understandably so), don’t sleep on safety as a significant need in this secondary.

Previous positional breakdowns: QB, RB, TE, WR, OT, G/C, DE, DT, LB, CB


(Final year under contract in parentheses)

Under contract: Tracy Walker (2021), Will Harris (2022), C.J. Moore (2021), A.J. Howard (2021)

Free agents: Tavon Wilson (UFA)

For a team that supposedly likes to go into three-safety sets, this is a roster devoid of many bodies at safety. Of course, when you trade one of your best safeties away for peanuts mid-season, that’ll happen to you. But I’m unnecessarily opening old wounds here. Let’s move forward.

The Lions have their two starting safeties under contract for the next few seasons and a nice special teams contributor in C.J. Moore. A.J. Howard was signed to a futures deal and is an unknown commodity. Outside of that, literally nothing.

Level of need: 6/10

The Lions may not need a literal starter at safety, but they certainly need a depth option that should be expected to get regular playing time in subpackages. Re-signing Tavon Wilson is an obvious solution to that problem, but the Lions could probably use more depth and a long-term option that isn’t Wilson.

A popular option would be jack-of-all-trades Isaiah Simmons with the Lions’ first-round pick. And if Wilson is done in Detroit, the Lions could reach back into the Foxborough well and grab free agent Devin McCourty to fill the veteran role in an extremely young safety room, although it feels unlikely McCourty leaves New England. Eagles safety Rodney McLeod is another possibility, given his connection to new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.

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