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Today’s Detroit Lions OnePride Podcast surrounds the 2021 NFL free agency for the Detroit Lions. Players that the Lions could pick up. Also, latest Lions news and rumors regarding training camp battles. Who can surprise and become a starter for the Lions. Also, the panel will go in depth about the QB rankings and see were Jared Gofff should be placed and what to expect for the expectations for the upcoming season.
Coleman was signed in 2019 to shore up the slot corner position, and for the first few weeks, he did just that. He was playing at an All-Pro level, and five games into his Lions career, he was looking like a steal of a signing: Coleman never quite returned to that level for the rest of his time in Detroit, with sparse moments of greatness overshadowed by many poor plays. The punch-outs and ball hawking all but disappeared from his game—he went from seven passes defended in his first five games of 2019 to just one in 2020. While the Lions defense struggled as a whole, Coleman himself wasn’t without fault.
With a new defensive coordinator brought in, and in turn a new defensive scheme, it made sense to move on from Coleman and his sizeable contract. To the surprise of some, the Lions took awhile to find his replacement, and even that comes with questions.
Corn Elder, a name bracket frontrunner, slides in at slot corner. Through three seasons as a professional, Elder has just a single start to his name, but 2020 was the year he truly broke out as a consistent contributor on defense. Elder got a PFF grade of 68.5, good for 29th out of qualifying corners. With a contract coming in at under $1 million, he presents a low-risk option for a team looking for a youth movement.
However, with essentially just one year under his belt, the question arises about the consistency for Elder. Can he not only maintain his level from 2020, but improve upon it? There is also the cornerback room to consider. Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye return, and with the additions of Ifeatu Melifonwu and Quinton Dunbar, the secondary is unspectacular but full of potential. This even applies to the safety group of Tracy Walker and Will Harris. Not only do the Lions hope Elder performs, but they are hoping that the players around him can help out too.
Coleman certainly struggled for most of his Lions tenure, but I am still a firm believer that the Lions defensive scheme was horrendous. Going from Matt Patricia to Aaron Glenn is the real upgrade to me, and I expect (and hope for) improvement across the board. As a result, I think Elder will perform well in the slot this year and exceed Coleman’s performance.
That being said, I think if you put Coleman into this current Lions defense, I’d wager he would perform decently as well. Coleman has talent, and he showcased it at times, but it is very possible that the struggles of the coaching staff hindered his ability. He signed with the Dolphins this offseason, and I would not be surprised to see him bounce back. Coleman isn’t much older than Elder (28 years versus 26), so I don’t expect a regression due to age either.
John Whiticar, Pride Of Detroit
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