Analyst Gives Lions Flawless Grade for Adding Steelers’ Cameron Sutton

Cameron Sutton

Getty Cameron Sutton runs after a play in 2022 in Pittsburgh.

The Detroit Lions wasted no time getting an agreement in free agency’s legal tampering period, connecting with cornerback Cameron Sutton on a three-year deal.

Sutton coming into the mix has been big news, and represents a major fix for the Lions at a very important position on the field. That is so much the case that it has earned a flawless ranking from the experts.

Bleacher Report is grading all moves of free agency as they come in, and writer Gary Davenport was extra-impressed with Detroit’s move to add Sutton to a very needy secondary. That was so much so that he gave the move an ‘A’ grade.

As he wrote

“The 28-year-old Sutton, who spent the first six seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, was excellent in coverage last year. He surrendered only a 65.3 passer rating and a 47.9 completion percentage. Sutton might not be a true shutdown corner, but he’s no slouch in coverage. He also has experience playing both in the slot and on the boundary. This is a reasonable contract for a solid player,” Davenport wrote in the piece.

Sutton coming into the mix gives the Lions a quality young player to work with in the secondary who has good experience on his side. To that end, the grade is a win for Detroit and Sutton as well.

It’s a good start for the Lions as they get free agency going during the 2023 offseason.

Cameron Sutton Fills Cornerback Need for Lions

In terms of why the Lions moved on Sutton, the decision was likely easy in the end. Detroit needs help on the back end after a very ugly season in 2022 with regards to pass defense.

Detroit finished 30th in pass defense in 2022, allowing 26 touchdowns and over 245 yards per-game on average. Worse, they allowed a total of 4,179 yards through the air.

Enter Sutton, who has been sticky on the back end in Pittsburgh. With the steelers, he allowed just 32 receptions as NFL Next Gen Stats tweeted. By the other account, the Lions themselves allowed the highest CPOE in 2022.

“Cameron Sutton allowed just 32 receptions on 72 targets in 2022. His 44.4% completion percentage allowed was tied for the 4th-lowest in a season since 2016 (min. 50 targets). Sutton will join a Lions secondary that allowed the highest CPOE (+1.5%) in the NFL in 2022,” the site tweeted.

As Brett Whitefield showed in a tweet, Sutton is very capable on the back end, and is ball-hawkish, which is something Detroit could use. The Lions only snagged 12 interceptions as a team last season.

“Here are some of new Lions CB Cam Sutton’s best plays from 2022. Dude has ball skills for days,” Whitefield tweeted.

Sutton coming into the mix should immediately tighten things up for Detroit on the back end. The team can also elect to draft a player in a quality 2023 draft class as well, so the signing did not have an “all or nothing” feel for the Lions.

Cameron Sutton Signing Deserves High Grade for Lions

In terms of the grade, there is no reason why the high mark from Davenport and Bleacher Report should be seen as anything other than the truth.

The Lions deserve an ‘A’ for signing Sutton, because the player fills a need and was one of the top players on the board for the defensive backfield spot.

There’s absolutely no question the Lions needed to add a cornerback, and in Sutton, they moved to get their top target secured quick. There’s a reason Lions fans were instructed to watch Sutton entering free agency, and it’s because the team loved his combination of versatility, grit and smarts. The move to add him is a home run for a needy back end in Detroit.

Sutton fills a huge need for the Lions at a fair price, while also giving the team a valuable cornerback in his prime. The fact that his addition has been so well received is another win.

It’s tough to grade this addition as anything other than perfectly for free agency and a big outside move for the Lions. Brad Holmes has earned all the applause he will generate for this addition.

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