Detroit Lions get more help for secondary, sign nickel cornerback Corn Elder

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions have a new nickel cornerback.

The Lions signed cornerback Corn Elder on Thursday, the team announced. Elder’s agent, Ron Butler, told NFL Network the deal is for one year.

Elder, 26, had his best season as a pro in 2020, when he played in all 16 games with the Carolina Panthers for the first time in his career and made one start.

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A fifth-round pick out of Miami in 2017, Elder has been a backup and special teams player for most of his career. He missed his rookie season with a knee injury, played exclusively in a backup role in 2018 and spent part of the 2019 season on the New York Giants’ practice squad before returning to Carolina.

Last season, Elder had career-highs of 40 tackles and three pass breakups. He allowed one touchdown and had a 91 passer rating against, according to Pro Football Reference.

The Lions were in need of slot cornerback after cutting Justin Coleman in a salary-cap move last month and letting Darryl Roberts and Tony McRae test free agency.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes expressed confidence in young cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye this week, but said the team still was looking for help in the secondary.

Mike Ford is the only other cornerback currently under contract.

“The corner position, and I can say it with more than just the corner position, is a position that we’ll continue to address now throughout the entire process, up until the draft and even after the draft if need be,” Holmes said. “It’s definitely a position that is not going to be overlooked or ignored. It is a young group that we have now. I really like the group that we have in terms of the youth and the upside. The coaching staff that we have on board, starting with Aubrey Pleasant, Aaron Glenn, I do think that those guys will help those young kids tremendously in their development. But that is a position that we’ll continue to look to address now and through the draft.”

The Lions are expected to host Quinton Dunbar on a free agent visit next week.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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