The Detroit Lions have dipped into the free-agent pool to shore up the cornerback position.
As a new coaching staff and front office prepare for the Detroit Lions 2021 season and the upcoming draft, they also try to cross off a big area of need by signing a new cornerback to the roster. Nickel cornerback Corn Elder is joining the squad on a reported one-year deal.
Despite the date, this isn’t some sort of April Fools joke like another player in the league played on his current and not-really-new team today. No, this is a legit signing that comes four weeks ahead of the draft later this month. While it’s no joke, what impact does it really have on the draft?
For starters, Elder has essentially one year of experience as a starting cornerback as he’s played special teams and in a backup role for most of his career. He has the potential to fill the gap left by cornerback Justin Coleman’s exit earlier this offseason.
While Elder played fairly well in 2020 with 40 tackles and three pass breakups, it might be a leap of faith to say he’s going to lock down the starting spot and receivers in 2021.
Impact on the draft
One thing this signing might do is push the need at the cornerback down the draft board. It’s not going to tip the Lions’ hand in any way, shape or form, but it does give them some solid depth and experience at the position.
Could the Detroit Lions still draft a cornerback in rounds two or three? Sure. This isn’t a splash signing that completely fills out the roster at the position. But it does free up their options on the draft board as they now have a serviceable starter on the roster should a player at another position of value still be on the board when the team is on the clock. It doesn’t tip their hand, but it doesn’t force their hand either.
If you’re not too familiar with Elder and not sure what to think of the signing, here’s a quick tweet from Los Angeles Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey asking for a certain team on the West Coast to sign him. While Ramsey isn’t getting his wish, it could certainly end up being the Lions gain with bringing Elder to the Motor City as the Lions look to “re-tool” for the 2021 season.