ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions declined to select a cornerback in the early rounds of last week’s NFL draft, didn’t sign any impact players at the position in free agency and essentially decided to go with what they had a season ago at the position.
It was looked at as a concern then. It is more so now.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said starting cornerback Chris Houston, who had toe surgery earlier this week, might not be ready for the start of training camp later this summer. For a player the team needs to be as ready as possible and as healthy as possible, this is a concern.
Other than Houston and longtime veteran Rashean Mathis, Detroit does not have much experience at the position. Darius Slay is entering his second year and was inconsistent as a rookie. Jonte Green has some experience, but not a ton. Same with Chris Greenwood. Bill Bentley has been mostly used in the slot.
The Lions signed Cassius Vaughn in the offseason from Indianapolis, but he became more of an injury replacement at times with the Colts and played under 10 defensive snaps in seven of 16 regular season games last season.
So he might be an option as well, but it is still a tricky spot for Detroit.
This is all after both Caldwell and general manager Martin Mayhew questioned whether Houston would return to form in the first place after a 2013 season where he played through injuries and inconsistency. So now a position thin on experience anyway could end up a little bit thinner.
Now it is possible Houston is ready for the start of camp -- Caldwell didn't rule that out, either -- but that the injury lingered as long as it did and that it took until May to really try and fix it should be concerning for the Lions on multiple levels.
Why didn’t it get fixed sooner? What impact will this have on the rest of the cornerbacks? How much pressure does this put on them now? These are questions that, for now, are without answers.
Either way, until Houston comes back and looks healthy, this leaves Detroit in a bit more flux than it already was at one of its more questionable positions in the first place.