The Lions’ second-year staff is in the midst of a massive rebuilding project. It has done excellent work in this regard, but more time is needed. Even with a wealth of early draft picks and some free-agency money to spend, the Lions just couldn’t address every need on a team that failed to win a single game before Jim Schwartz & Co. took over.
The area that is still in the most need of help is cornerback. Of course, when you add a supreme talent like Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle, a lot of defensive deficiencies tend to improve. It is too early to speculate on such things, but in the first round of the 2011 draft, my money is on Detroit adding a corner.
As it stands today, Chris Houston (acquired from Atlanta) is probably the Lions’ No. 1 cornerback. That isn’t to say that Houston is a terrible player, but he was far from spectacular last season and was more of a detriment rather than asset in the Falcons’ poor pass defense.
The Lions did add 33-year-old Dre' Bly on July 2 and used a very early third-round selection on Amari Spievey. Bly is probably the No. 2 corner for now and Spievey is a solid enough prospect who could contribute right away, specifically in sub packages, but his ceiling is probably that of a No. 2 corner. Spievey is not the player you want matched up against Greg Jennings or Sidney Rice for the foreseeable future.
Jonathan Wade, Eric King and Dante Wesley also will compete for the starting spot opposite Houston, but ideally, Detroit will want Spievey to win this job. Wade, King and Wesley are far from exciting and none has much upside at this stage of their respective careers. Spivey brings more physicality and ability to the position.
This secondary was horrific in 2009. It might be improved this year and the defensive line enhancement will help, but the cornerback position as a whole still needs a lot of work. Actually, besides Louis Delmas, this whole secondary is flat-out poor. Brett Favre, Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers may feast again.