Harmon and Trufant (Plus a 3rd) V. Slay and Diggs

The style of defense Patricia runs needs CBs who can cover in man to man and safeties who are disciplined. To that end the Lions made their secondary moves. Are we in better shape?

We still have not replaced Melvin (and hell, DJ Hayden in 2018). But the Lions do have Amani Oruwariye who has skills, Justin Coleman and Jamal Agnew.

I have been penciling CB Jeffery Okudah to the Lions for a while now. And even if the Lions pass on a CB early the draft likely will yield a CB in rd. 2 and there are some talented CBs that should be there at that point.

Is this secondary better at this point? I looked at Charles Tillman for example…a second rd. pick of the Bears years back who started 13 of 16 games as a rookie. A top rookie who is a scheme fit should be able to start and play credible outside snaps. If the Lions draft Okudah (a move I expect) is that a credible starting player in year 1?

What if we start Trufant, Okudah, Justin Coleman with Amani, Jamal Agnew and say Tony McRae/Mike Ford with safeties Harmon, Will Harris, Tracy Walker, Jayron Kearse and CJ Moore with Killibrew there too as a special teamer and depth safety and LBer? Is that an upgrade over 2019?

We had Diggs, then all the same safeties…and Slay and all the same CBs outside Okudah but with Rashaan Melvin. Is that an upgrade?

I think in this scheme the answer is yes. As long as we get that credible #2 CB in either Okudah OR maybe a different 2nd rd. CB like A.J. Terrell for example.

AND…the Lions have an extra 3rd rd. pick for Slay as the 5th for Diggs roughly became Harmon, a trade I am totally cool with. I think Harmon will be a better fit here. I also think we will play a LOT of 3 safety defenses going forward.

So Slay becomes Trufant, Diggs becomes Harmon, Melvin maybe becomes Okudah and the rest of the secondary from 2019 basically stays the same. Is that progress? Oh and we have an extra 3rd for those efforts. Is that better? Is that progress?


You could throw former 2019 Cowboys 5th Rd pick from Miami U into the mix too:

He has the measurables:


Currently our secondary is worse than it was going into last season. I think drafting Okudah is a major mistake, especially at #3.

We still haven’t improved the pass rush, but if we do that, then the secondary will look better because of it. We could have 2 Deion Sanders’ and 2 Ronnie Lott’s in their prime and the secondary wouldn’t look great with no pass rush.


Great addition Free. CB MICHAEL Jackson (23 years old in 2020) has a real shot at a roster spot in 2020. He is big, has great athletic numbers and now has experience with this scheme.

A 5th rd. Pick of the Cowboys in 2019.

Yep, he deserves a mention as a guy who could be a 6 th CB in 2020.

I don’t think it is a major mistake but agree I would rather do it after a trade down. I could stomach it more at 5 or 6 than at 3. I like pass rush over CB so I would go Brown over Okudah. We also need to do a better job stopping the run or teams won’t need to pass.

If the measurement of “better” at this point of the offseason is simply an objective look at PFF for clear upgrades, then it’s a firm YES!!!

-Trufant is a clear upgrade over Slay, from last year at least. Had twice as many INTs in less games and you have to factor in the difference in pay.

-Harmon is a clear upgrade over Diggs. Better for our scheme and little injury history as far as I know. Injuries were a problem with Diggs and while Diggs was a good ballhawk in the role, Harmon is better with more INTs in less snaps and will be our starter over Harris. That will free up Walker to do his thing mo’ betta.

-Since Melvin sucked as an outside CB, Amani O was a clear upgrade as we will bank on improvement in year 2.

-Coleman underachieved in the slot but he’s a former undrafted guy who has the grit to bounce back in year 2

-our depth and ST is upgraded in my mind since we got one of the Bengals best ST players and one of the Vikings best ST players. Add that to our up-and-coming ST coach and the top players we still have.

Like every team, we are banking on some bounceback years, overachievement, rookie contributions, and overall health to make the upgrades a reality. Anything we get from the draft is sugar on top.

Well, they better figure out how to get a pass rush, in addition to filling out the CB/S corps.

Assuming there’s an NFL season, the Bucs will come to DET, with Brady throwing to Evans and Godwin. And if he has all day it will be ugly.

1 Like

You also have to figure in that both Slay and Diggs were malcontents. Perhaps they were mostly professional, but I had a boss that once said “you quit a job two weeks before you actually leave.” I think that rings true here. If they had bad feelings about the staff, I can’t see that as a positive. Slay was a good player and was sticky in coverage, but he was NOT the best CB in the league as he’s being paid to be, sorry but not even close because despite his name, he was NOT Big Play Slay. He was a great cover corner that was never a ballhawk and never will be. We did also get the 5th for Diggs and the swap of picks for Harmon, so we’ll see how it works out. If it doesn’t, then I’d bet we’ll have a new staff coming in to start griping about.

1 Like

Contrary to BTP’s analysis, some are comparing Okudah to Peterson, Gilmore and Ramsey (not bad company):


And there were rumors we wanted to trade up for Peterson and another top corner (name?) in drafts past. Now we have an opportunity to pick the top prospect as a secondary plan if Young is gone and even after trading back for more high picks! We find our team in a really enviable position in the draft.

Fingers crossed that BQ doesn’t go another direction while we watch on draft day.

Right now we do not have a credible #2 CB. Luckily this draft is pretty deep at CB and if we get the right guy…that player CAN start games and be an okay #2 CB on day one. That is why I looked up Charles Tillman…a second rd CB who played significant snaps as a rookie.

This club needs a solid #2 CB, we don’t have one now…and a pretty damn good one is available this draft. I expect Okudah as the pick as of now but even if we go Chase Young OR something else happens (DT Brown?)…there are still pretty answers that should be available in rd 2 this draft.

I wouldn’t be upset if they decided to go OT and wait until the second day for CB help. I mean, there are only so many chances to get your hands on a stud tackle. Move Big V inside and we have the potential for a high-end OL. Best if we could trade down and add picks first of course.

So many directions they could go in…

I keep going back to the chart that @GreggyJ posted:

The Lions gave teams by far the most time to throw last year, and it’s highly correlated to rushing by far the fewest people.

If the secondary looks better this year, it will have to because of improved strategy and pass rush. I find it hard to believe any combination of DBs will look good if the pass rush doesn’t change.

1 Like

Dr…omne thing people need to understand is that the Patriots way on defense ISN’T to have incredible sack numbers from a guy or two (with the exception of Chandler…who they got rid of almost as fast as they could!). The Patriots defenses get contributions from MANY people getting to the QB, not just an edge guy. And yet the Patriots are often a top sack team with guys rarely breaking the 7 sack mark.

In 2019 the Patriots were 7th in team sacks. In 2018 they were 30th but were 7th in QB rating allowed. They were 7th in 2017. In 2016 they were 16th in sacks but 8th in QB rating allowed. They generally get the job done somehow. In 2015 they had Chandler Jones in his last season and Jones had 12.5 sacks. The Patriots see pressure as different than most teams and I think Patricia has that same philosophy.

With sacks in mind…the Pats allowed a 62.8 QB rating in the NFL in 2019. #1. Awesome. With no sack guy above 7.5. In 2018 they were 7th in QB rating allowed. 2017…3rd in QB rating allowed. 2016…8th. In 2015…WITH CHANDLER JONES…the Pats were 13th in QB rating allowed. 2014…10th. This scheme KNOWS how to cover people.

The Lions were 27th in QB rating allowed in 2019. That had to RIP out Patricia’s heart.

I don’t believe edge rushers ad high sack totals are the end all be all for Patricia. Yet they value Flowers meaning hell yes I think Chase Young is in play IF the :Lions think Chase is Flowers part II.

But the Lions also lost Mike Daniels and D. Hand early. Add to that Harrison being wet toast and Flowers not being ready to go and the whole scheme fell flat. Add to that Slay not paying attention in meetings and the whole defense was rotten to the core by injuries and guys not getting what this team is trying to do.

Now we have Harmon over Diggs and I think that will prove to be a HUGE upgrade for this scheme. We have Trufant over Slay and if Trufant wants to endear himself to this city and scheme he will be able to do this job. And I think we need Okudah to really sink this secondary. Coverage matters more than sacks but pressure and squeezing a QB seems to matter more than sacks and pressure. ALMOST DARING a QB to throw the football in some ways.

In 2019 the Bucs allowed the 17th highest QB rating yet they were 7th in sacks. I think having a great secondary matters and I think the Lions want that here in 2020.

I don’t think pressure matters as much as people think it does. I believe the Lions (like the Patriots) want lanes clogged, a pocket pushed and a QB uncomfortable…and NOT scrambling. A disciplined and powerful DL.

I think the Lions will fix this secondary in 2020 and the re-make is under way. Harmon is a KEY piece of that and Tracy Walker and Will Harris I think we also be key components in 2020.

Great piece MyLions. I do feel however that we need to make a hell of an improvement in pressure on a QB, not just sacks. When you can create that pressure without blitzing you have a pretty big advantage. I’d like to see that and then let the secondary capitalize.

1 Like

Thanks kmaris15! Much appreciated.

I think having Da’Shawn Hand available is big and I think depth there with Nick Williams will also help. Both Hand and Daniels were out most of last season and that hurt us a lot. A healthy Shelton pushing the pocket has to be better than 2019 Harrison. By the way…Harrison is still out there and that tells you how far he has fallen.

I believe if Chase Young is there we jump on that. If we value Flowers then Young can also help us by taking Okwara’s snaps and by mitigating concern about Austin Bryant too. In other words Chase can help with two or three positions.

I think Chase is gone daddy gone though. So we will end up choosing between Okudah, Derrick Brown and the top tackle. If we pass on Okudah I am not going to be upset as there are some fine CB options that will be there in rd. 2 so no reason to panic.

I am fine with Brown too as having that pocket pushed back is critical to flushing a QB to the edge.

There are few options I don’t like that will be available to us. Trading down is best. Pick up additional pieces and see how far the drop is.

1 Like

I hear ya there, I think we are in a great position that we might not be able to screw up hopefully. If Young is there then we all know what they should do. If not, I really hope they are playing a good trade game because that could be critical to building our future for years to come. If we take Okudah at #3 I’ll be pissed because they had to have messed up their leverage. We could get him at 5 or 6 and get another high pick in addition. He’s going to be there at #5 or #6 more than likely if we don’t take him at #3 based on a lot of projections out there.

Ultimately I’d prefer a force on D-line over Okudah even at #5 or #6, but Brown has some question marks for me.

If Darius Slay isn’t a ball hawk there aren’t any in the league anymore.

Literally no corner that’s been in the league as long as he has has more interceptions except Marcus Peters.

Is he an all time great? Hell no but no corner has been as productive with such a shitty front 7.

1 Like

You could add a 7th round pick, too. We swatted our 5th for a 7th in the Harmon trade

Just don’t match Slay up with Keenan Allen and he’ll do pretty good, prolly. :slight_smile:

Slay became better at tracking the football as his years have gone by and he’s developed into a solid player. He still gets burned just like anyone else but he does lead the NFL in passes defended in total the past few seasons if I recall somewhat correctly. He isn’t scared to tackle. He’s also had seasons where he wasn’t targeted for shit. Even with that I just don’t know if I can justify the price tag given the locker room turmoil that was caused with the Diggs trade, to 3rdRGR’s point. Slay became expendable immediately due to his reaction to that situation, regardless of how good he is. He wasn’t on board anymore, he checked out. Who’s at fault? Well we heard some stuff but I think there’s more to it…

Either way, we don’t know those politics exactly and we don’t know why that went down the way that it did, but it was easy to notice that a change was going to be made. The writing was on the wall.

1 Like