Georgia CB Kamari Lassiter fits the Lions 1st-round pick

USA Today

As we head towards the 2024 NFL Draft, I will be focusing on players that fit the Detroit Lions in a variety of ways. Whether it be a trade-up scenario, staying put with the 29th pick or even some valuable day two options for Detroit.

We can all agree that one of the biggest needs for the Lions this off-season is defensive back. They seem likely to move on from Emmanuel Moseley and they’ve already committed to letting safety Tracy Walker become a free agent. There will be questions surrounding Gardner-Johnson and Jerry Jacobs and if either player will be back.

Either way, the Lions need help in their secondary. Players coming and going, the Lions had the 27th ranked pass defense this season (247.4 passing yards allowed per game).

Through the draft process, one player that has immediately stood out as a potential fit is Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter. He’s listed at 6’0″ and 180 pounds but he plays much bigger than his size would indicate. Let’s break down some film and look at how he fits the Lions with the 29th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

When putting on the tape, one of the first plays that really stand out is this hit from Lassiter on South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette. Built like a running, Legette is able to run through and absorb contact fairly easy. However, Lassiter isn’t your average defender when it comes to tackling on the perimeter.

Looking at the play above, South Carolina motions into a trips left formation. Much of this is to help get blocks on the perimeter for this designed wide receiver screen to Legette.

While there’s a missed block on the outside, it’s credited to the speed and play recognition from Lassiter. He reads the quarterback and flies up the field in a hurry to make a terrific tackle. I’m sure this play was played back a handful of times in the Lions scouting department as it perfectly sums up the type of players they’re looking for on their football team.

Moving onto the next play, it’s one where Kamari Lassiter essentially runs the route for the receiver. Looking at the play above, you’ll see Lassiter aligned in man coverage out of Cover 1 for the Georgia defense. Playing with good patience and quick feet, Lassiter is able to stay square and keep the receiver in front of him.

In the process, he forces the receiver to continue his route to the outside and with that, he uses the sideline to his advantage. While running in-stride with the receiver, he gets in the hip pocket and is able to make a play on the ball. The only downside to this play is that Lassiter doesn’t come down with the football. Either way, it’s a great rep that resulted in a pass breakup.

  • Physical defender that loves to initiate contact.
  • Shows good press-man ability.
  • Has experience in both man and zone coverage.
  • Reacts and closes quickly on the ball.
  • Good overall tackler that triggers downhill with a vengeance.
  • Needs to get head around sooner when playing the ball in the air.
  • Will get too physical/grabby in coverage.
  • Can get beat on double moves once he commits to flipping hips in one direction.
Overall Projection, Notes and Fit with Lions:

Lassiter was a 4-star recruit (per 24/7 Sports) from American Christian High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Despite offers from Alabama, Oklahoma and several others, he landed with Georgia. In addition to football, he also played baseball, basketball and ran track in high school. His PR for the 100-meter dash at 12.01 seconds.

Testing will be huge for him this week at the Scouting Combine, especially in the 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill. Having good recovery speed will be important for him as a press-man cornerback at the next level.

Entering the NFL at only the age of 21, Lassiter shows plenty of potential to develop into a number one cornerback for an NFL defense. An experienced player with 29 career starts for the Bulldogs,  he’s a physical defender that attacks the opposition every chance he gets.

In coverage, he’s shown consistency in man coverage but he also looks comfortable in a zone coverage with Cover-3 responsibilities. That’s incredibly important as the Lions primarily run Cover 1 and Cover 3 on defense. If selected by Detroit, that could make his transition into the league much easier.

Lassiter will need to get his head around sooner in coverage and that’ll help him become more productive on the ball. Overall, there’s much to be desired with the physical and athletic profile to be encouraged by him becoming a productive player in the NFL. Earning a second round grade on my grading scale, Lassiter would make a lot of sense for the Lions with the 29th overall pick.

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