The Detroit Lions had a glaring need at the safety position. After failing to land the biggest fish in the sea, Marcus Williams, in free agency, the organization signed DeShon Elliott to a one-year deal.
Elliott comes to Detroit following a three-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens, who absolutely loved him when he was able to contribute on the football field, but that became a problem. Elliott struggled to remain healthy, appearing in just six games as a rookie, followed by 16 in 2020, and then just six last season.
Over his three seasons with the Ravens, the former sixth-round selection out of Texas has consistently graded out in the mid-to-high ’60s, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). In a limited role due to injuries last year, Elliott amassed an overall grade of 65.6, including a 66.2 mark defending the run and a 61.7 mark in coverage.
Elliott signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, and it is a prove it-type deal that totals $1.1 million. The fourth-year safety figures to start alongside Tracy Walker, who is coming off a career year. More importantly, the addition of Elliott will allow Walker to roam as a free safety where he’s been very effective rather than playing in the box as a strong safety.
Also, by bringing in Elliott, the Detroit Lions can ease in rookie safety Kerby Joseph who is undoubtedly a developmental defender with an abundance of upside.
The Detroit Lions drafted Kerby Joseph with the no. 97 pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Joseph is a raw defender having only played defense at the college level for one season. Over the first three years of his career at Illinois, Joseph had been a mainstay on special teams and was even listed as a wide receiver in 2020.
Last year Joseph burst onto the scene with the Fighting Illini, totaling 57 tackles, and five interceptions as a starting safety.
According to PFF, the lanky, long-armed 6-foot-1, 200-pound defensive back earned the highest overall grade of any safety in college football for his work in the 2021 season.
The knock-on Joseph is his overall speed, and he didn’t help those accusations during the NFL Combine because he elected to forgo the 40-yard dash.
Joseph makes up for his lack of speed with tremendous instincts and ball skills. He’s a fantastic tackler and glided around nicely as a safety during his final season with Illinois. His skill-set should pair nicely with Walker, who is best suited as a deep safety. The pair also has plenty of upside playing alongside each other in a more traditional split-safety look, and that is something we will see a ton of in Aaron Glenn’s defense.
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The Detroit Lions got good value with Joseph selecting him in the third round. The addition of Elliott will allow the organization to be patient with the rookie, who will see work on special teams on day one and rotated in on defense as the year progresses.