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AgeAlford’s drastic
On Tuesday the Atlanta Falcons parted ways with longtime cornerback Robert Alford. The former second-round pick had two years remaining on his contract Amani Oruwariye Detroit Lions Jersey , but Atlanta decided to eat $1.2 million in dead cap in order to free up nearly $8 million in cap space. Having drafted cornerback Isaiah Oliver in the second round last year, it’s clear the Falcons are looking to get younger at the position by cutting 30-year-old Alford.Alford is also coming off the worst year of his career. However, considering Alford’s generally good career with the Falcons, he could be viewed as a hot commodity in free agency. It’s clear his play took a big nosedive in 2018, but teams might not be dissuaded from pursuing him all the same.The Detroit Lions are a team that will undoubtedly be looking to upgrade the cornerback position. Last year, Detroit made plays at Richard Sherman and Malcolm Butler, but ended up re-signing Nevin Lawson. As a result, Detroit ranked 31st in passer rating allowed and Lawson helped out with five passes defended. Despite an admittedly horrible year, Alford’s reputation around the league still remains positive. Just ask Lions corner Darius Slay:So should the Lions make a play for Alford? Let’s take a look at both sides of the argumentYes, the Lions should try to sign Robert AlfordWhen he’s good, he’s goodThe Lions have been dying for a physical corner that can make a play on the ball to put opposite Darius Slay. When it comes to playmaking stats, Alford has actually been lock-and-step with Slay.That last stat obviously comes with a positive and a negative Amani Oruwariye Jersey 2019 , but it also speaks to the amount of times he’s getting targeted. It’s never really a good thing when you’re targeted that often, but it’s something Alford would likely have to deal with considering Slay will be locking down the other half.Physical profile matchIn today’s NFL, teams like to spread out their offense with burners and crisp route runners. Speed is the name of the game. To counter that, teams need fast corners. While the Lions already have one speedster in Slay, there’s nothing wrong with having two. Alford’s age may cause some of these physical traits to deteriorate, but he still has some amazing recovery speed that will prevent Detroit from getting beat deep. That would be good news for a team that gave up 10 passing plays of 40+ yards last year (ninth most).If you believe the Lions need a more physical corner opposite Slay to deal with the bigger, slower receivers, Alford’s playing style fits that need. Alford is not afraid to get his hands dirty and, as you can tell from his bench numbers, he has a decent amount of strength to back that up.Versatility We all know how much Matt Patricia loves his cornerbacks, but he loves position versatility even more. Alford brings it with the capability to play the inside slot position, especially with that speed he possesses. Back in 2015 Color Rush Amani Oruwariye Jersey , Alford still played as an outside corner in base defenses, but would get nickel looks in certain packages. It was a learning experience for the now-veteran corner. “I’m glad that the coaches gave me a chance to play a game at nickel,” Alford said of the experience. “I learned a lot from that game. There was some stuff that I can improve on and some stuff that I did well.”The Lions’ nickel corner position is arguably up for grabs. Jamal Agnew, Quandre Diggs and even Lawson are options, but adding Alford would give Detroit a ton of position versatility for all four. No, the Lions should pass on Robert AlfordHe was bad in 2018... like, really bad.Alford’s drop off was sudden and drastic. Pro Football Focus puts it nicely here:If PFF grades are more you thing, Alford earned just a 56.6 grade (105th) and a coverage grade of 53.1 He’s a penalty machineEven in Alford’s good years, he’s been notorious for drawing yellow flags his entire career. Per PFF, Alford has the most coverage penalties of anyone since 2016 (34). Last year, Alford had eight penalties, good for eighth most among defensive backs. In 2016 Cheap Amani Oruwariye Jersey , he had the fourth most (11). AgeAlford’s drastic drop could very well be an anomaly—just a random bad year. That kind of thing happens all the time, especially at a position line cornerback, where the line between success and failure on any given play is incredibly small. However, now that Alford has crossed over 30 years old, the chance that he improves drastically are relatively minor. With speed being one of his best attributes, there’s only a greater and greater chance his athleticism will eventually fail him. If the Lions add Alford, he’ll be nothing more than a stopgap player for a year or two. That may work in the short-term if the Lions expect to compete soon, but Detroit will still need to find a long-term solution at CB2. Final verdictThis is a tough one for me. On one hand, I feel confident enough that 2018 was just an anomaly for Alford. His reputation and play from the previous two years was good enough to rationally believe that a player doesn’t just drop off like that in a single year. But age is a real concern and the penalty numbers are consistent enough to know that will be a problem if Detroit brings him in. Ultimately, I think I would be okay if the Lions made a run at him, but I would hope that doesn’t prevent them from making an additional move, preferably in the draft. With Slay already at 28 years old with two years remaining on his contract Amani Oruwariye Jersey Womens , the Lions aren’t getting any younger or cheaper at the position. A draft pick would quickly change that. It appears the fears of a long-term injury to Detroit Lions punt returner Jamal Agnew were not hasty. On Tuesday, special teams coordinator Joe Marciano told reporters that the team was in the beginning stages of preparing a long-term replacement for Agnew as the team’s punt returner: Agnew was injured in the final quarter of Sunday’s game against the Packers when his knee bent awkwardly while tumbling towards the end zone. He was carted off after getting some help off the field. Former NFL doctor David J. Chao believes the video of the injury suggests he may have suffered a torn ACL, but the video, he admits, is inconclusive. It’s interesting that Marciano suggests Agnew’s replacement will be an internal choice. The Lions could turn to Golden Tate on punt returns, as the veteran receiver has averaged 10.7 yards per return on 90 career punt returns. The Lions could also use Brandon Powell or Ameer Abdullah on returns. Abdullah was active for the first time this past Sunday and quickly assumed kick returning duties from Agnew. He has yet to log a punt return in his NFL career, however. You’d have to go back to his sophomore year at Nebraska to find his last punt return—way back in 2012. But the Lions won’t need to just replace Agnew on special teams. The All Pro punt returner was just starting to emerge as an option for the Lions’ nickel cornerback spot. Agnew played in at least 10 defensive snaps in all five games this year, including 44 against the Patriots. With injuries mounting up in the secondary—Teez Tabor left Sunday’s game, while Quandre Diggs played with a cast, and Tavon Wilson missed the game entirely—don’t be surprised to see the Lions make an addition to the back end of the roster.

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