The Detroit Lions have some injury issues in their defensive backfield, and that could push them to make a signing before Week 2 begins.
This week, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Lions are going to host cornerback Jaylen Watkins, formally of the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans on a visit. In addition to Watkins, the Lions will also host a few other cornerbacks, but as Rapoport says, Watkins could have the leg up thanks to the fact that he knows Cory Undlin from his time with the Eagles.
Detroit depending on a cornerback off the streets to play a big role would be a troubling twist early in 2020 considering how dinged up the Lions were last season. The team’s defense struggled and collapsed late in Week 1, and a lot of that had to do with injuries.
Jaylen Watkins Stats
Watkins was a 4th round pick of the Eagles in 2014, and bounced around the league a bit, spending time with the Buffalo Bills before a return to Philadelphia, where he would be on the Eagles roster which captured Super Bowl LII. After getting cut by the Eagles again, Watkins signed with the Los Angeles Chargers, got hurt and signed with the Texans in 2020. He was released earlier this month.
In his career, Watkins has put up 85 tackles and 9 batted passes. He hasn’t recorded an interception thus far just yet.
Lions Cornerback Injuries
Detroit has been dinged up badly in the secondary, with Jeff Okudah not playing Week 1 thanks to a hamstring injury. During the game, they also lost Justin Coleman as well as Desmond Trufant to injury. Trufant’s ailment cost Detroit dearly because the team seemed to get worse after he was forced to leave the field. Already, 3 key cogs in Detroit’s operation could be forced to miss time due to injury which isn’t ideal in the least bit.
The fact that the Lions are in such a desperate position after only a single week speaks to how poorly their depth has been this season.
Lions Cornerback Battle Fierce
Detroit has a good competition brewing in the second level for reps and snaps, where Amani Oruwaryie and Desmond Trufant have stepped up early and shown their stuff. Tony McRae has also taken steps toward showing he can be a key veteran contributor, and prior to injury, Mike Ford was looking like a player who was going to carve out a role on the roster for the team. All told, the team has fairly good depth at the spot.
Where does Okudah fit in with this? Likely near the top of this group when all is said and done and camp eventually concludes, but cornerback can be a difficult position to master at the next level. The team is probably very smart to be starting him slow, especially given the way the offseason has played out in 2020.
The Lions hope they get their major players back for this group, but until then, they might need to look in another direction to get some additional help. Watkins could be the way they turn to aid in their early depth problems for 2020.