Detroit Lions: 3 safeties to keep tabs on during the 2021 NFL Draft

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Detroit Lions
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Tariq Thompson is a player the Detroit Lions should take a flier on late in the draft.

Tariq Thompson is a hybrid safety that often aligns on the slot receiver.  In today’s NFL, defending these spread offenses that deploy an abundance of pass-catchers in various sets, defenses need to counter with multiple defensive backs.

The base defense used to be a 4-3, which transitioned to a 3-4.  Now, a base defense is essentially a nickel set, more like 3-3-5, or 4-2-5 depending on the defensive scheme.

Sure, defenses will use the traditional defenses depending on the down and distance and countering the offensive personnel, but multiple defensive backs are definitely the new normal.

The Detroit Lions have a plethora of outside corners (snickering) but need help inside.

Tariq Thompson is a plus-tackler and won’t shy away from attacking any ball carrier.  Thompson does see plenty of opportunities to get after a ball carrier as he’s often lined up near the line of scrimmage working out of the slot.

Thompson stands 6 feet and plays around 210 pounds.  Thompson spent four seasons with San Diego State, starting in all four seasons.  Thompson defended four passes as a freshman, along with completing 57 tackles and adding four interceptions.

Thompson had been the model of consistency, recording 210 tackles and 11 interceptions in four years in 45 games.  Last season playing in eight games, Thompson made 41 tackles and one interception.

Here is a player that is expected to be available in the fifth and sixth rounds.  The Detroit Lions do not own a sixth or seventh-round draft choice in 2021, so they’d need to use their fifth on Thompson, and I would not be opposed to it, especially knowing they’d likely used the first four rounds of the draft building the defense and perhaps securing an impact player on offense as well.

There is also a chance Thompson becomes available to be signed as an undrafted free agent after the draft.

We can justifiably point to needed upgrades at each level of the defense, primarily at the second level.  Aside from Jamie Collins, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a wholesale change at the linebacker position.

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The Lions will also need to add some interior defensive line help, along with at least one more edge rusher.  I am not ready or willing to count out Julian Okwara, but Austin Bryant is quickly running out of time.