The Detroit Lions have so many cornerbacks right now. Jerry Jacobs, AJ Parker, Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, Ifeatu Melifonwu and more. Part of that “more” is the Lions’ newest corner, Chase Lucas. The Lions took the former Arizona State standout in seventh round in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it’s hard to tell where he’s going to fit in among the mass amounts of cornerbacks.
What are your overall thoughts on Lucas’ time at ASU?
“Chase Lucas garnered “Mr. Sun Devil” status in Tempe over the span of a largely successful five-year—six if you count the redshirt—career. Coming out of nearby Chandler High School (two of his teammates were Bryce Perkins and N’Keal Harry), Lucas was a four-star Athlete and a top-five in-state prospect who some classified as a running back coming into college.
“He carries the most accolades out of any Sun Devil prospect in this year's class, including Freshman All-American, two second-team All-Pac-12, and three All-Pac-12 honoree nods. What he is arguably the most proud of is his 5-0 record against in-state rival University of Arizona.
“Everything seemed to come together for a strong finale for Lucas in 2021, and he did not allow a touchdown last season in coverage. His 49 starts as a Sun Devil rank second in program history.”
What are his strengths?
“From a fundamental standpoint, Chase Lucas will match any corner in this draft. His route recognition, basic footwork, agility, and tackling are all considered strengths. His 4.48 40-yard dash will also help in closing any lost distances in coverage.
“Lucas had the opportunity to learn under two Super Bowl Champions in former defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce and former interim defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson (now defensive coordinator). ASU’s pro-style model on both sides of the ball is applauded by those in the NFL and adored by scouts, which is likely a reason why Lucas did not fall off draft boards like some experts predicted.
“Sun Devil corners play a lot of man-to-man defense in what head coach Herm Edwards calls “cat coverage.” In man defense, Lucas battled against receivers like Michael Pittman Jr. and Drake London, not to mention future pros N’Keal Harry, Brandon Aiyuk, and Frank Darby in practice.
“He took the reps, now it is about transferring the skills to the league.”
What are his weaknesses?
“Lucas’s suboptimal frame (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) hinders his chances at playing outside corner in the NFL against the league’s biggest receivers. From a physicality standpoint, there are concerns.
“Because of the freedoms awarded to corners in the Sun Devil defensive scheme, Lucas was also prone to a big-play lapse here-and-there, which can be expected out of a college corner playing the majority of his snaps in man-coverage. Edwards tested Lucas and fellow draft prospect Jack Jones to play pro-style ball. Both succeeded.”
Can Lucas be a starter in the NFL?
“If Lucas wants to be a starter in this league, he will likely have to adapt into a nickel-corner that can play in slot coverage and on special teams. Where he used to be designated to one side of the field, he will now have to roam. His man-to-man background should expedite this transition. As the lone corner taken by Detroit in this year’s draft, Lucas should have ample opportunities in the preseason. For now, his focus should be on making the 53-man roster. A strong effort on special teams would certainly help his cause too.”
Did the Lions get a steal?
“To say the Lions got a “steal” would be (a.) probably a stretch and (b.) a premature claim. The NFL Mock Draft Database, which compiles mocks from dozens of NFL expert big boards, ranked Lucas as the No. 28 cornerback in this year’s class. He was the No. 30 corner (No. 237 overall) taken in the draft.
“The more conservative approach would be to call it a “good-value” pick for the Lions. Detroit was tied for last in the NFL at eight yards allowed per passing attempt in 2021, so I am honestly surprised they did not prioritize a corner with a higher pick as question marks continue to surround Jeff Okudah. As long as Aaron Rodgers is in the division, the position should be a developmental priority for Detroit.
“In the end, I guarantee you Lucas would call it a steal.”