Lions to Hire Eagles Assistant Coach as Defensive Coordinator

Corey Undlin

Getty Corey Undlin before a game.

The Detroit Lions have filled the biggest need on their defensive coaching staff for the 2020 season, and have finally settled on a name.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Detroit is tapping Cory Undlin to be their next defensive coordinator. Yates revealed the news early on Monday morning.

The team later revealed the news with an official press release.

Undlin comes to the Lions with plenty of experience under his belt, although he has never been a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Currently, Undlin has been working as the secondary coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, a post he had held since 2015 in which he had captured a Super Bowl.

He will take over from Paul Pasqualoni, who walked away from coaching a few weeks back as part of some sweeping changes to Matt Patricia’s coaching staff in Detroit.

Corey Undlin Biography

Undlin broke into the league in 2004 with the New England Patriots as a coaching assistant, which is likely how he got to know Matt Patricia and the other members of the staff. He joined the Cleveland Browns as an assistant coach from 2005-2008, coaching in a few roles there including assistant special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach.

From there, Undlin spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009-2011 as a defensive assistant and a defensive backs coach. He moved on to the Denver Broncos as a defensive quality control coach and defensive backs coach until 2014. After that, he joined the Philadelphia Eagles as defensive backs coach, a post he held through the end of 2019.

Undlin’s only coordinating experience came at little-known California Lutheran in 2000-2001 just before he made the jump to Fresno State as a graduate assistant.

Over the years, Undlin has worked with a number of solid defensive backs in the NFL, which should give hope to the fact that he could do a solid job with those same players in Detroit.

Matt Patricia’s Experience With Corey Undlin

Obviously, for any position coach to get a major gig like this, the head coach would have to have a great relationship with him. That seems to be the case here with Undlin as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press pointed out. Patricia and Undlin had history together dating back to 2004 when they each worked with New England, and Patricia has referred to Undlin by name before when breaking down the Eagles.

Obviously, many folks will see this as some sort of nepotism, but it was obvious that whomever was going to coach the Detroit defense would have to have a history with Patricia.

At 48, Undlin has youth on his side as well as experience in coaching with some of the better defenses in the league. His work with the Eagles, although mocked by fans on the internet, is significant. Developing names such as Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills is significant. The Eagles also managed injuries well and were able to get multiple second and third string players to play up to potential. That development likely figured into the decision.

With a history between coaches, the hope is Undlin can come in and press the right buttons for a Lions defense that badly needs a reset ahead of 2020.

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