It was considered the highest priority for the Lions coming into this years draft.
They had to get a cornerback.
When round one came and went without a cornerback being drafted, the fans were a little disgruntled. They would have preferred to see one of the premium names they had coveted for the last few months fall to the Lions, but most fans satisfied themselves with the notion that the Lions filled another area of need, offensive line.
When round two came and went with still no cornerback, the fans were livid. Murmurings cascaded through the fan base about the inability of the Lions to draft, especially when the pick went to a position considered rather a strength, wide receiver.
Now that the dust has settled a little more, we get to have a look at what the Lions ended up with and make early judgments as sound and reliable as Sunday morning draft grades. The Lions concluded a rookie minicamp this weekend and while it is still way too early to state definitively, it looks like Mayhew may have picked right again.
Dwight Bentley, the third round cornerback from La. Lafayette, showed natural ability to stay in the pockets of receivers. Though he may be a little undersized, his instincts were strong and he has the speed to cover.
Chris Greenwood from Albion has the perfect build and speed. He is going to have to work to adjust to the NFL level but, at this point, it seems to be a question of honing instincts. If he gets a better feel of anticipation for what receivers do at the NFL level and sticks with them, he will reinforce what some are already calling a draft steal.
Jonte Green apparently had the hardest time absorbing the experience, but demonstrated good speed. As a sixth round pick, if he takes a little longer to catch up with the rest of the team its not the end of the world. Playbooks and schemes can be learned. Fast can't.
None of these cornerbacks are likely to be confused with Morris Claiborne... just yet, although Greenwood has the potential. But the Lions got quality talent in the later rounds that is far cheaper, two of whom are likely to contribute at some point this season.
For some fans, this doesn't sound like a quick enough contribution. But that is the scheme the Lions run. That is the way they operate. Many people looked at Martin Mayhew and stated that he would pick a cornerback in the first round because he was a cornerback. He knows the value of cornerbacks.
This is true. But specifically he knows the value of late round cornerbacks. He knows the difference in talent level and has a solid plan for where that late round talent fits into the Detroit Lions.
So far, his late picks are making a splash.