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Where do we stand at corner in 2021? 

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"The corner position, and I can say it with more than just the corner position, is a position that we’ll continue to address now throughout the entire process, up until the draft and even after the draft if need be," Holmes said. "It’s definitely a position that is not going to be overlooked or ignored. It is a young group that we have now. I really like the group that we have in terms of the youth and the upside. The coaching staff that we have on board, starting with Aubrey Pleasant, Aaron Glenn, I do think that those guys will help those young kids tremendously in their development. But that is a position that we’ll continue to look to address now and through the draft."

Coaching:

Aaron Glenn DC-

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Glenn, 48, is a former NFL player turned coach. Glenn was a first-round pick by the New York Jets (No. 12 overall) out of Texas A&M. He spent 15 seasons in the league with the Jets (1994-2001), Texans (2002-04), Cowboys (2005-06), Jaguars (2007) and Saints (2008). He was a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro at cornerback. Despite being just 5-foot-9, Glenn finished his career with 41 interceptions, six returned for touchdowns and eight total touchdowns.

Glenn started his coaching career as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, before taking the defensive backs job with the New Orleans Saints in 2016.

In 2015 before Glenn was hired, the Saints allowed a passer rating against of 116.2, one of the worst marks in NFL history. That figure has been under 90.0 three of the past four seasons, including 2020, when opponents were held to an 83.3 passer rating (fourth best in the NFL), and the Saints tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions.

During the 2019 season, Glenn's defensive backs recorded nine interceptions, three sacks, six forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.

He's had a helping hand in the growth of safeties Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore was the youngest Saint (21 years old) ever selected to the Pro Bowl and the franchise's first AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Aubrey Pleasant Secondary coach-

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Pleasant joins the Lions following a four-year stint as the Los Angeles Rams' Cornerbacks Coach (2017-20). Pleasant's first professional position was as a coaching intern with the Browns in 2013 before joining Washington that year as an offensive assistant and transitioning to a defensive quality control coach from 2014-16.

A native of Flint, Mich., Pleasant coached at Grand Blanc (Mich.) High School in 2010 before working for the University of Michigan from 2011-12.

The Rams led the NFL in pass defense (190.7 yards per game), total defense (281.9 yards per game) and scoring defense (18.5 points per game) and had 14 interceptions this year.

On the roster:

Amani Oruwariye- 25 years old 6'2"205lb starting corner from 2019 draft.

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Amani Oruwariye was drafted by the Lions in 5th round after looking like a day 2 pick. His rookie season was rocky. He played much better and earned a starting spot in 2020. Had nothing opposite him with Trufant, Okudah and Coleman missing significant time all season and no pass rush in front of him. 

2020 numbers-

33rd pick Murphy- 51 TOT 40 Solo 11 Ast 2 sacks 0 FF 0 FR 0 INT 8 PD 81 TGTs 53 CMP 65.4% CMP%

39th pick Murphy-Bunting- 70 TOT 53 Solo 17 Ast 0 sacks 1 FF 1 FR 1 INT 3 PD 100 TGTs 77 CMP 77.0% CMP%

146th pick Oruwariye- 53 TOT 45 Solo 8 Ast 0 sacks 0 FF 0 FR 1 INT 7 PD 85 TGTs 51 CMP 59.3% CMP%

 

Jeff Okudah- 22 years old 6'1" 202lb starting corner from 2020 draft.

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“Man, if you lack confidence as a cornerback or a quarterback? Either one of those two? Then that’s tough, man. You got to be thick-skinned. Like, talking about Okudah, you got to be willing to get your *** beat a couple of times, but then you have to snap back, because the game is on the line, you’re going to have to make that play,” Campbell said. “But I don’t care how talented you are — and you know this — if you lack confidence that the people around you who are making decisions and setting up the defensive calls and [saying] this is what you’re going to do, I don’t care how thick-skinned you are, if you feel like people don’t believe in you, you’re going to lose confidence.”

 

Corn Elder- 26 years old 5'10" 185lbs starting nickle from 2017 draft.

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Per Jalen Ramsey on twitter

"Would be a GREAT addition. Biggest competitor I know who can play outside or slot & Rams fans would love him"

"AP gon get to work with my dawg @AIR_CORN23"

Mike Ford- 25 years old 6'1" 198lbs corner went undrafted in 2018.

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Ford has played three seasons in Detroit, appearing in 31 games and starting seven. He consistently shows speed and energy at both CB and on special teams, though his coverage skills can be clunky. He did grade out with the highest PFF coverage score on the team in 2020 with an 87.6, albeit in just 26 coverage snaps.

So my questions are....

 

1. How do you feel about this group presently?

 

2. Where do you think we can improve?

 

3. How much are you willing to invest in this group considering the rest of the roster?

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It's not a great group. I think that Corn Elder could be a sneaky good pickup in the slot role. Okudah has a ton of potential, and I feel like Oruwariye is a very good #2/#3 corner. What we are really missing is that elite #1 option. Hopefully Okudah develops into that guy, but he didn't look great last year. We definitely need to add some depth and competition and I'd be fine with the Lions drafting one in the first round again IF they trade down. If not then I'd take a look on Day Two. 

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It is kind of hard to judge this group due to our putrid pass-rush the last two years. Oruwariye is a solid #2 CB and matches up well with bigger/more physical receivers.  His length partially compensates for his average top-end speed but not completely.  I suspect Okudah will make a big jump.  He was pretty good against the run and I suspect a new coaching staff will make a big difference in his development.  Mike Ford is a good special-team player and a solid #3/#4CB.  He might also make a significant improvement with a new coaching staff.  We don't have a lot of draft picks this year so these signings should allow us to focus in developmental CBs later in the draft and use our early picks for the "best player available" that hopefully fill a critical need like WR, LB, S and DT.

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