Lions Bring Back Defensive Starter: Report

Dan Campbell Kindle Vildor

Getty ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions signed cornerback Kindle Vildor to a 1-year contract.

The Detroit Lions have re-signed another one of their cornerbacks from the 2023 roster in veteran Kindle Vildor.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Lions agreed to a 1-year contract with Vildor.

“Lions are re-signing free-agent CB Kindle Vildor to a one-year deal, per source,” Schefter wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “He reunites with Deshea Townsend his former DB coach in Chicago who’s now with the Lions.”

Vildor is the third cornerback the Lions have brought back from their 2023 roster. Detroit also signed Emmanuel Moseley and Khalil Dorsey to 1-year deals this offseason.

The Lions picked up Vildor in the middle of November of 2023 after the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles waived him during the season.

On December 5, the Lions signed Vildor to the active roster. Including the playoffs, he started the final five games of the 2023-24 campaign.

In five regular season contests, Vildor had 10 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss, 2 pass defenses and 1 forced fumble. He also had 12 combined tackles, including 1 tackle for loss in three playoff games.

Lions Re-Sign CB Kindle Vildor After Parting Ways With Cameron Sutton

Even before re-signing Vildor, the Lions had signed more cornerbacks this offseason than any other position.

On top of the three re-signings, Detroit added Amik Robertson on a 2-year contract in free agency. Furthermore, the Lions traded one of their third-round picks for veteran cornerback Carlton Davis.

The position group appeared to be set. But then on March 20, Cameron Sutton became the subject of a police search in Hillsborough County (Florida). The day after the sheriff’s office issued a warrant for Sutton’s arrest, the Lions released the veteran cornerback.

Sutton led the Lions in defensive snaps last season. So even with Davis and Robertson arriving as the team’s potential top two cornerbacks for 2024, Sutton’s release left a hole.

The Lions have at least partially filled that with Vildor.

The Chicago Bears drafted Vildor in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft. He played three seasons for the Bears before the team waived him at the end of 2023 training camp.

Vildor has started 24 games in his NFL career. In 51 contests overall, he has posted 108 combined tackles, 12 pass defenses and 1 interception.

Are the Lions Done Adding at Cornerback?

With Vildor returning, the Lions have eight cornerbacks on their roster, including nickel cornerback Brian Branch. So, outside of perhaps adding a Day 3 prospect or undrafted free agents, Detroit could be set at cornerback.

However, it’s curious that the Lions elected to bring back three players from their 2023 cornerback room. Detroit was 27th in passing yards allowed and 29th in yards yielded per pass attempt last season.

Granted, Moseley barely played due to multiple ACL injuries. But Vildor and Dorsey did.

While Vildor earned a starting job late last season, it was a little by default. Detroit’s other cornerbacks were struggling, which gave Vildor an opportunity.

According to Pro Football Focus, Vildor didn’t fare any better. He recorded a 49.3 PFF player grade (out of 100) in eight total games with the Lions.

During 2024, the Lions should be better at cornerback with Davis and Robertson in the starting lineup. But neither potential starter is signed long term.

That fact and the desire for more competition for Vildor, Dorsey and Moseley leaves open the possibility of the Lions drafting a cornerback in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

On April 3, ESPN’s Field Yates predicted the Lions to target Iowa cornerback Cooper DeJean at No. 29 overall.

But with Vildor and the rest of the cornerback depth Detroit has added, the team could easily address a different need in the first round as well.

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