Detroit Courting Two Defensive Backs

According to's Ed Thompson, the Detroit Lions are keying in at least two players that they believe can be of assistance via this month's NFL draft.

While it's likely the Detroit Lions will address quarterback and offensive line within their first three selections, it's a good bet that the team's remaining picks will help shore up the defense.

The Lions easily hosted the league's worst defense in the league last season, even setting a modern day NFL record for highest pass-completion allowed during the course of the year.

It was a debilitating fault that reflected not just the team's inability to rush the quarterback, but also defend the ball while it was in the air.

Or basically, they need help everywhere. And while middle linebacker is a glaring hole, so is the secondary.

According to's Ed Thompson, the Lions are keying in at least two players that they believe can be of assistance.

Thompson: I've been hearing that a pair of defensive backs who weren't invited to the NFL Combine have been gaining a lot of traction and attention over the past five weeks.

Ohio University safety Michael Mitchell knocks the ball carrier to the turf.
Photo: Scott Gardner

One of them is Ohio University safety Michael Mitchell, who opened the eyes of representatives from roughly ten NFL clubs at his school's Pro Day in March by posting a pair of sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash times. The 6-foot-1, 221-pound defender pushed 21 reps during his bench press workout and posted a vertical jump of 37.5 inches.

The Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and the Bengals, Browns, Colts, Lions, and Rams were among the teams in attendance. Mitchell told that the Browns, Colts, Texans and Lions all spent some time talking with him that day.

The other prospect to keep an eye on is Tennessee cornerback DeAngelo Willingham, who has been busy with workouts and visits ever since his school's Pro Day on March 11. A source has told that he has worked for the Detroit Lions and that Eagles secondary coach Sean McDermott worked him out on March 18.

 The 5-foot-11, 217-pound cornerback has already visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has a jam-packed schedule the week of April 13. Willingham will be racking up frequent flier miles that week with visits with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Bengals and the Browns. 

Although the stock of each player is rising considerably, it is likely they'll both fall between rounds 5 and 7.

The Lions would like to add depth to a cornerback position that was essentially eradicated in the off-season. They need at least one cornerback along with safety help.

The Lions have two sixth round picks, and a compensatory selection in the seventh. They traded their only fifth-round pick to Seattle in the trade involving Julian Peterson.

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