Addressing Lions Safety Problem

Addressing Lions Safety Problem

The Detroit Lions have a problem on their hands. Stop me if you haven’t heard that before.  Well, when it comes to this problem, it’s at the safety position, to be more specific.

Isa Abdul-Quddus had a good season in 2015 playing opposite Glover Quin, getting 57 total tackles and adding one sack in the mix.  A free agent-to-be once the new league year began, Abdul-Quddus went on to sign a three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

Seeing that there was a lack of overall depth on the roster, new GM Bob Quinn went out and signed two safeties in Rafael Bush and Tavon Wilson.  Bush has started just 14 games in the last three seasons, struggling to stay healthy and playing in just one game in 2015 as a backup.

[graphiq id=”9khYfY8g6Z7″ title=”Lions Barroom – Rafael Bush Overview” width=”640″ height=”437″ url=”″ link=”” link_text=”Lions Barroom – Rafael Bush Overview | PointAfter” ]

“Rafael has played a lot of football,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said last month. “You can tell that he certainly had a real good sense of the defensive schemes that he’s been in. He’s been in a complex one where they did quite a bit and expected him to do a bunch, but he’s a guy that can also play deep and he can also play in the box. He’s a willing tackler. He’ll get after you.”

Wilson comes to Detroit on a two-year deal from New England.  The former second round pick out of Illinois appeared in nine games last season totaling just ten tackles.

[graphiq id=”fkTGMAdkRrn” title=”Lions Barroom – Tavon Wilson Overview” width=”640″ height=”362″ url=”” link=”” link_text=”Lions Barroom – Tavon Wilson Overview | PointAfter” ]

Both are expected to compete for the starting strong safety role, but Quinn can’t put all his eggs in one basket for two guys that struggled to stay healthy for the better part of 2015.  While Don Carey and Isaiah Johnson are expected to compete for that role, the Lions would be smart to look to the draft to help build upon that safety depth.  Keanu Neal, Vonn Bell, and Karl Joseph are safeties the Lions might strongly consider with the 16th overall pick if Quinn chooses to go that route.

Scouting Report: Keanu Neal

Dane Bruglar at says this about Neal:

While he showed improvements in the deep half of the field in coverage, he is best known as an eraser downhill, playing with violent intentions and looking to lay the wood. Neal enjoys contact and is a physical striker, but needs mechanical work as too many of his tackle attempts are off balance due to streaky angles.

Bruglar’s full report is here

Scouting Report: Vonn Bell

Bruglar says Bell:

Bell plays with the requisite mental and physical toughness and is active in run support, but needs to improve his tackling mechanics. Although not a twitchy athlete, he is a decisive reactor and collects himself well in space, projecting as an NFL starter at safety or nickel.

Full report is here.

Scouting Report: Karl Joseph

Lance Zierlein, at has this bottom line report on Joseph

Fiercely competitive with immense football character. Different teams may have differing opinions of how best to utilize him, but Joseph has proven he can make plays in man coverage or play disciplined enough to be trusted on the back. His average size and subsequent durability will concern some teams due to his aggressive, attacking demeanor; however, Joseph is talented enough to become an early starter and high­-impact safety down the road if the medicals check out

Zierlein’s full report is here.


Quinn needs to upgrade the safety position at the draft. One must wonder if any of the three players above are potential targets. If the Lions wait until the third day of the draft, finding a potential starter gets really difficult.

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