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4 Qs: When healthy, DeShon Elliott is a ‘good safety’ and ‘violent hitter’

We asked our friends at Baltimore Beatdown to give us the lowdown on new Detroit Lions free agent signing DeShon Elliott.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL free agency madness is over, but the Detroit Lions are still getting things done before the NFL Draft, which is now just two weeks away. This week they added a much-needed piece when they signed former Ravens safety DeShon Elliott to a one-year deal.

Elliott should be in competition for the starting safety spot opposite Tracy Walker right away, even if the Lions do decide to take a safety in the draft.

We wanted to know more about Elliott, so we reached out to our pal Kyle Barber from Baltimore Beatdown to get the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:

What are your overall thoughts on Elliott’s time in Baltimore?

“Elliott was the recipient of much fanfare. He was a sixth-round pick who received the trope of “absolute steal in the late round” commentary. Truthfully, he’s a good safety. He is a violent hitter who can even crumple Derrick Henry. But, it’s this unmitigated violence that is a double-edged sword for the player who has missed 10 or more games twice in three seasons.”

Elliott rose to starting status fast, why is that?

“Elliott wasn’t slated to be the starting free safety in 2020. The Ravens had arguably the best safety in the NFL in 2019, and were expected to continue as is. But after Earl Thomas III punched teammate Chuck Clark and reportedly skipped a meeting to get his vehicle washed, his contract was terminated for conduct detrimental to the team. In the starting role, Elliott played rather well, but his ability to cover tight ends and the center-field role in comparison to Thomas was poor. The Ravens were picked on relentlessly against tight ends due to their lack of a great matchup, and with the tandem of Clark and Elliott, neither fit the prototypical mold of a free safety.”

What weaknesses does Elliott have?

“Elliott’s primary weakness is injury risk. I believe Elliott is a capable starter and could improve the Detroit Lions’ secondary, but you have to be on the field to do so.

I also believe there is concern regarding coverage breakdowns. Throughout last season, it was become a “scheduled tweet” that local media would post “coverage lapse, opponent scores 50+ yard touchdown.” Due to injury, rotating of players and uncertainty in who had what assignment, it’s unclear how much fault was on specific players. Some may have been Elliott. Others could’ve been Clark, or the rookie defensive back Brandon Stephens.”

Can Elliott be a long-term starter in Detroit? Or should the Lions be looking to draft someone early to takeover?

“I would love Elliott to be a long-term starter in the NFL, but missing 10+ games in the first two of three seasons is a rough way to start. If he stays on the field, he’s a viable option as a starting player. He’s a hitter, and another “Dan Campbell” kind of guy. But this is a one-year deal for a reason.“