Are the Detroit Lions beginning to become a destination for free agents?
I’m going to pump the brakes on that as a whole, but it’s a great sign to see that cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman chose to join the Detroit Lions despite having multiple offers on the table.
I understand Robey-Coleman is not exactly a household name. Still, the fact that he elected to join Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn in Detroit over teams like Seattle and Arizona, teams that should at least have an opportunity to compete for a playoff spot, speaks volumes to the change in culture around Allen Park this summer.
The 29-year old Robey-Coleman has enjoyed a solid NFL career but is coming off of his worst season since 2015 with Buffalo. The Eagles had been hindered with various injuries in 2020, similar to Detroit; no one had a successful season. Last year in Philadelphia, Robey-Coleman earned an overall defensive grade of 51.1 per Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Nickell Robey-Coleman is another familiar face added to the Detroit Lions by Brad Holmes.
Before last season, the veteran corner enjoyed three solid years playing for current Lions defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant with the Los Angeles Rams earning above-average grades of 80.7, 82.6, and 74.5.
Here is what Robey-Coleman had to say about joining the Lions, courtesy of Jeremy Reisman of Pride Of Detroit;
"“I’ve got so much love and respect for Aubrey, so much love and respect for Brad. When I came here it just felt right, it was right.”“He’s going to be a prick sometimes because he wants you to be great,” Robey-Coleman said. “He doesn’t want you to be mediocre and be OK with that. If he sees you slipping, he’s going to let you know.”“This scheme got us to the Super Bowl, won an NFC championship, then before then we were making playoff appearances,” he said. “We created a lot of turnovers on the front end, getting sacks, and on the back end getting interceptions and forced fumbles. The D-line and the back end can work together, marry up together, it’ll look real good.”"
Pleasant, combined with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, will surely aid Detroit’s youthful corners like Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, and Ifeatu Melifonwu. But also mixing in veteran cornerbacks such as Quinton Dunbar and Robey-Coleman not only brings a healthy competition to the position but also much-needed on-field mentorship.
Although Robey-Coleman has seven career interceptions, he’s failed to make one over the past two seasons. He’s yielded a catch rate of 65.5% over his career and that does include last year’s disastrous 82.1% completion rate. He allowed 46 receptions on 56 targets. Expect a bounce-back season in 2021.
With Corn Elder sidelined by injury, and Dunbar dealing with a personal issue, Robey-Coleman has the inside track to start right away working out of the slot for the Detroit Lions.