There’s no harm in having an abundance of cornerbacks in the passing-orientated NFL, but is it a direction the Detroit Lions should go with the second-overall pick?
The Lions’ cornerback group has more questions than answers. Jeff Okudah, the former third-overall selection in 2020, has not lived up to his billing and an Achilles injury only further derails his career trajectory. Amani Oruwariye stepped into the CB1 role in 2021 to modest success. Oruwariye led the way with six interceptions, but as a pending free agent in 2023, his future with the team is up in the air.
The Lions got some surprising production from their rookie corners in 2021. AJ Parker and Jerry Jacobs exceeded expectations as undrafted free agents, with Parker manning the slot and Jacobs on the outside. Ifeatu Melifonwu, a 2021 third-round pick, had a small role due to injury, but he looked decent in limited action. All three players should be important pieces of the Lions defense next season, but can they develop into great corners?
The cornerback group is rounded out by free agent signing Mike Hughes, as well as Mark Gilbert, Parnell Motley, Bobby Price, and Saivion Smith. Hughes should be in the conversation for sizeable role on defense, though the exact spot will likely be dependent on training camp. He could compete with Jacobs for an outside corner role, but he may also push Parker for the starting slot position.
With that stable of cornerbacks, is it justifiable for the Lions to take a corner with the second-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft? For all the potential on the Lions’ roster, it has yet to translate to a dominant secondary. As it stands, the Lions have a below-average cornerback group without an elite player.
The top of the 2022 draft has no shortage of talented corners. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. are the top prospects on most boards, although the exact order is up for debate. Gardner is the tall and lanky prototype that is becoming coveted in the NFL. Stingley has an extensive skillset that could quickly make him a top cornerback in the league. In a draft class with few true elite prospects, Gardner or Stingley could be selected in the top five.
Many people have penciled in a pass rusher for the Lions with the second pick, but is there a chance they go for a cornerback? And if they do, would you approve?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Would you be okay with the Lions selecting a cornerback with the second-overall pick?
My answer: I would be okay with a cornerback, but it would not be my preference.
I still view a pass rusher as the best option for the Lions. With Romeo Okwara coming off an Achilles injury and Charles Harris having just one season of success, a defensive end remains a significant need. Coupled with two of Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Travon Walker being on the board when Detroit picks, the available talent fits the need.
The Lions have many unknowns in their secondary, but I believe the Lions need to give players time to answer those questions. What’s the point of having players with upside if you don’t give them the opportunity to develop? I don’t believe it’s fair to write off Okudah, Melifonwu, Jacobs, or Parker quite yet. Drafting a cornerback like Gardner or Stingley would likely bump Melifonwu and Jacobs down the depth chart, on top of challenging Okudah or Oruwariye for a starting role. There would suddenly be a logjam at cornerback, and the players that need live reps might never see the field. Melifonwu may forever remain a question mark if he is relegated to such a minor role.
While a cornerback would certainly improve the Lions’ secondary, I think it would be a misuse of a valuable asset. The cornerbacks made great strides in their first season under defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, and I believe that group should be given another year to showcase their talent. If general manager Brad Holmes decides to select a cornerback with the second-overall pick, I would be okay with the selection, as I have faith in his decision making, but I would rather see it spent on an edge.
Would you be okay with the Lions drafting a cornerback at 2?
This poll is closed