With their first fourth round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select corner Nevin Lawson of Utah State. Lawson will definitely be a developmental player. He was projected to be a seventh round pick but the Detroit Lions chose him in the fourth instead. He has adequate speed but lacks in size. At the NFL combine he ran a 4.48 forty yard dash which is not too bad for a corner, but it is also not as fast as current Lion corners Chris Greenwood and Darius Slay. At five foot nine and weighing a mere 190 pounds, he also does not have the size of either of those two. There was a lot of pre-draft talk that the Detroit Lions needed a corner. They drafted one here in Nevin Lawson.
I personally thought safety was a bigger need position than corner was given the number of young players we already have at the position. I felt like Lawson was a luxury pick and at times wondered if he was drafted to play safety. He was not though. Lawson will be a corner. He was quoted as saying that the Detroit Lions loved his man coverage skills and his ability to play special teams. He feels that was a big part of why he was drafted. Lawson’s addition will likely mean that one of the current corners will either be moved to safety or cut during the roster reduction rounds that happen during the pre-season. I think it would be best to evaluate the current roster and see if any of the younger players can be moved to safety. Chris Greenwood could be a potential move, although his size and speed, not to mention the improvement he has shown at the end of the season last year lead me to believe he will be retained at the corner position, if he makes the roster at all. Jonte Green played some safety in college and could be a potential move there as well.
Lawson, although short for a corner, says that size does not matter. He says it is about how big you play. He appears sticky in coverage, which may be what new defensive coordinator, and former Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin likes in him. Austin has done a tremendous job in developing young defensive backs into NFL caliber players. His newest project, Nevin Lawson, may have been hand picked by Austin for just that. Make no mistake about it though, Lawson was not drafted to be a starter. He was drafted as a developmental player who they hope can be molded into a regular contributor.