Days after Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said he planned to address the cornerback position ahead of the draft, the team reached an agreement with veteran Corn Elder on Thursday.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 draft by the Carolina Panthers, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Elder has spent nearly his entire career with the franchise.
After missing his rookie season with a knee injury, Elder appeared in 13 games in 2018, primarily in a special teams role. He was cut ahead of the 2019 season, temporarily landing on the New York Giants’ practice squad before returning to Carolina later that year.
Elder played in all 16 games for the Panthers last season, seeing a career-high 411 defensive snaps, with the majority coming at the nickel position. According to Pro Football Focus, he was targeted 40 times in coverage, allowing 27 receptions for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Unlike Detroit’s previous nickel cornerback, Justin Coleman, missed tackles weren’t an issue for Elder. He failed to wrap up his assignment just twice in 2020.
The Lions currently have just four cornerbacks under contract. Elder joins a group headed by Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye, with Mike Ford the only other reserve. Prior to additional signings or draft select, Elder projects as Detroit’s starting nickelback.