The Detroit Lions have lots of roster questions heading into the 2022 season, but one of the biggest may have just been revealed at the start of training camp.
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Early on, it looks as if the team is taking the idea of a switch seriously. DetroitLions.com reporter Tim Twentyman revealed that already, the team is listing Harris and Melifonwu in different spots. Specifically, Harris has been listed as a cornerback and Melifonwu a safety.
“One quick Lions observation from roster. Team lists Will Harris as a cornerback and Ifeatu Melifonwu as a safety,” Twentyman tweeted.
This would represent a flip for the duo, with Harris previously being a safety and Melifonwu coming into the team as a cornerback when he was drafted in 2021. Late last season, the Lions pushed Harris into time at cornerback and he played solidly down the stretch. Melifonwu was hurt much of 2021, but seemed like he would be primed to be a cornerback in Detroit.
Melifonwu Could Fit Lions Safety Position Well
Coming into the NFL out of Syracuse, there were some early questions about whether Melifonwu would move to the position or not. At 6-3, Melifonwu has the kind of size that teams covet in a safety. He was always going to be one of the bigger cornerbacks in the league if he stayed at the position, but safety could fit his body better.
Additionally, Melifonwu has bloodlines at the position. His older brother Obi Melifonwu starred at the position in college:
In the pros, the elder Melifonwu put up just 10 tackles playing in only 7 games with 1 start and fought injury in his career. It’s possible the younger Melifonwu could be ticketed to play his better role in the league at the position. It might also allow him a better shot at breaking through on the roster.
Harris Cornerback Switch Could Be Ideal for Lions
Harris, who has been a safety in the league previously, could now be looking more destined to move to cornerback, or even a hybrid position where he rotates between safety and cornerback. Dan Campbell discussed this when meeting with the media this offseason. While some would believe it would be best to give up on Harris, the Lions seem committed to helping Harris showcase his talent.
Overall, this is the right move ahead of the 2022 season. The Lions have enough holes on defense, and shouldn’t be giving up on a player like Harris given their need for players. While folks will point to how Harris has struggled, he also has a chance to play a consistent role for the Lions if he can accept changes and use them to his advantage. So far, so good with regards to that.
In this day, it’s always easier for a franchise to give up on players, but there’s something to be said for teams that make something work. Harris will have to work hard to earn and keep his role, but it seems as if the Lions want to see him put in better positions to have success rather than setting him up to fail automatically. Putting him in matchup based scenarios will allow the Lions a chance at doing this on defense.
Watching and seeing the shift of Harris and Melifonwu at camp and their progression figures to be very interesting for the Lions this year.
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