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Three cornerbacks that the Detroit Lions could be interested in at the 2024 Senior Bowl

The last 24 hours or so have been absolutely brutal for Lions fans. Not finishing that game against the 49ers to punch our ticket to the Super Bowl will always be in the back of my mind. No doubt, this Lions team can be back in the mix next year but they’ve got plenty of work to do.

Fortunately they can add more talent to their roster in the next few months. Whether it be free agency, trades or through the NFL Draft, it’s a promising time in Detroit. Especially when you consider how far this team got with the issues on defense, it’s encouraging.

With the season over, I now shift gears. With that, I begin breaking down the tape on a lot of the defensive talent here in Mobile, Alabama at the 2024 Senior Bowl. While there’s a plethora of a defensive talent here, I can’t help but think of ways that the Lions could improve their secondary. Adding talent at cornerback would be pivotal to the success on defense next season. Finding help opposite of Aidan Hutchinson and Cam Sutton have to be the top priorities this off-season. With that, here’s three cornerbacks that the Lions could have interest in this week at the Senior Bowl.

Max Melton, Rutgers 

The last time the Lions drafted a player that had a brother in the division, that player had played for the Green Bay Packers. In 2021, the Packers had Equanimeous St. Brown and the Lions drafted his brother, Amon-Ra St. Brown. Oddly enough, the Packers signed wide receiver Bo Melton from the Seahawks practice squad and now his brother, Max, enters the 2024 NFL Draft.

Much like his brother, he will perform at the Senior Bowl to show teams what he can do. While Max Melton doesn’t play wide receiver, he does do a nice job covering them. This season, Melton only allowed 24 receptions on 44 targets (per PFF) and he had three interceptions and six pass deflections.

When you put on the tape, you can see Melton consistently aligned in the face of receivers. Ready to jam them and take their lunch money, there’s much to be desired with the man coverage ability from him. In addition to that, he does show a good awareness in zone coverage. There are times that he gets square and flat footed rather than opening his hips to get in better position to run with receivers. However, he’s patient, physical and doesn’t shy away from tackling the opposition.

Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo 

This one is obvious…ball skills and more ball skills. The production from Quinyon Mitchell over the last three seasons has been incredible. He’s recored six interceptions and 45 pass deflections. That type of production normally means that a defender is getting targeted a bunch.

That would remain true for Mitchell but the results for offenses have been limited. This past season, he was targets 62 times and he only gave up 27 receptions for 290 yards (per PFF). Additionally, he didn’t give up a touchdown and he earned a 91.5 overall grade from PFF.

On tape, Mitchell is an instinctive cornerback that will also get physical with the opposition. He jumps routes constantly and is able to play through the catch point as good as anyone. Checking into the Senior Bowl at 6’0″ and 195 pounds with 31 1/8″ arms should only help his draft stock. It’ll be interesting to see if he can show the desired fluidity and competitiveness all week in Mobile. If he does, he could very much be in the cards for the Lions with the 29th overall pick.

Johnny Dixon, Penn State 

Depending on who you talk to this may be a hot take but I prefer Johnny Dixon over Kalen King at this point. Both players will be at the Senior Bowl this week so it’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out for both players. With that, King misses far too many tackles for my liking.

As for Johnny Dixon, he’s very much been under-the-radar to this point in the process. While he’s got 29 5/8″ arms, he did measure in at 5’11” and 192 pounds in Mobile. Additionally, he’s been productive over the last two seasons. He’s tallied 9.5 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, three interceptions and 13 pass deflections during that time.

When you put on the tape, you can see an instinctive corner that is well balanced in man and zone coverage. Additionally, he’s physical and is an effective when blitzing. When thinking about the ways Aaron Glenn used Brian Branch and Ifeatu Melifonwu, I can’t help but get excited about his usage in Detroit’s defense.

 

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire