NFC North Rookie Preview: Detroit Lions (Defense)

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2015 NFL season less than 3 months away, it’s time to start thinking about the competition in the NFC North. According to most draft publications, the other three teams in the division had solid drafts so there will be an influx of new play-makers for Bears fans to root against. This week I’ll be breaking down the drafted and significant undrafted rookies for all the teams in the North. I’ve already covered the dreaded Packers on both offense and defense and the Lions offense. Below I’m covering the additions to a Lions defense that is no longer as threatening without Ndamukong Suh.

Detroit Lions Rookies (Defense):

#33 CB Alex Carter (Stanford, 3rd round)

Long corner (6’0) who excels in both press and zone coverages. He plays with good physicality against the run and has solid overall football awareness. Carter doesn’t have the quickest feet and could struggle to stay with NFL receivers in man coverage. He plays much better with the ball in front of him but gets into trouble when asked to turn and run with receivers. I thought Carter would make a better safety in the NFL, but I’m hearing the Lions view him as a long-term replacement for starter Rashean Mathis.

#90 DT Gabe Wright (Auburn, 4th round)

Disruptive player against both the run and pass due to his explosive first step. Wright is kind of a one-trick pony who doesn’t have much to offer if he can’t win with his burst off the line. He also struggles against double-teams and needs to improve his technique to disengage from blockers. Wright is a solid 3-tech prospect who has the potential to be a starter if he can add strength over the next few seasons while maintaining his burst off the line. I had him going in the 2nd-3rd round, so the Lions got good value here at a position that they badly needed depth. Ngata and Tyrunn Walker are good bets to start at DT, but behind them Wright is competing with a group of unproven young players and he could get some significant minutes this season with a strong training camp performance.