Newly Released Jason McCourty Possibly Fits Lions
The Lions are targeting another cornerback, that’s no secret. Head coach Jim Caldwell recently commented on the state of his secondary, suggesting a possible upgrade at the position. Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Marlon Humphrey (Alabama), and Tre’Davious White (LSU) are only a few options at the top of the draft to entertain. However, this year’s crop is loaded with talent, and Detroit could feasibly add a starter in a late round.
The Titans officially released Jason McCourty, a longtime staple in Tennessee’s secondary. At 29-years-old, the former sixth-round pick presents an intriguing veteran option in Motor City, dependant on how the draft plays out. While his best days may have passed, McCourty enjoyed a solid career in Nashville. From 2012 to 2014, his play crept into elite territory (7 interceptions, 37 passes defended, and 4 forced fumbles during that stretch).
Detroit’s pass defense ranked a modest 19th in the league. However, they made only 10 interceptions and gave up the highest passer rating (106.5) to opposing quarterbacks in 2016. The Lions added former first-round pick D.J. Hayden this offseason, but he may only contribute in the slot. And while the secondary demands improvement; linebacker, wide receiver, running back, and tight end may take precedence.
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McCourty’s best year came in 2013, when he had adequate support around him. During that season, the combination of him, Alterraun Verner, Michael Griffin, and Bernard Pollard elevated Tennessee’s passing defense to eleventh in the league after a putrid 2012. The Lions boast an arguably more talented group in Darius Slay, Glover Quin, and Tavon Wilson.
Nevin Lawson, Detroit’s fourth round pick in 2014, started opposite Slay last year. The corner from Utah State has zero interceptions and questionable impact in three years. If the Lions miss out on a top prospect in the draft, they could kick the tires on a player like McCourty.
Aside from the former Titan; Darrelle Revis, Alterraun Verner, Brandon Flowers, and Sam Shields remain untouched on the market. Each veteran comes with his own concerns. Revis and Verner struggled in 2016, while Flowers and Shields cannot stay healthy. McCourty’s play fell off over the past couple of years, but he could feasibly reach his peak level of play with Tennessee. The Lions have a logjam of mediocre talent beyond Slay, and could use an upgrade.