Tavon Wilson performing unsung work in Lions' secondary

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions’ strong safety position battle was one of the fiercest this offseason. Ultimately, it was former New England Patriot Tavon Wilson that emerged victorious and he has quietly rewarded the team with steady play from that spot.

While cornerback Darius Slay received all the praise and accolades after forcing two turnovers in the closing minutes of last weekend’s win over the Eagles, Wilson played a key role on both plays. Slay had a clear path to deliver the hit that forced a fumble only because Wilson barreled across the line and took on two blockers.

And the Eagles only tested Slay deep on the pass he intercepted because Wilson took away quarterback Carson Wentz’s first read, tight end Zach Ertz, with tight man-to-man coverage.

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“(He’s) very physical around the line of scrimmage, really did a great job on the fumble caused by really coming down and really knocking two people off and allowing our pursuit to get to the ball,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “He’s been playing like that all year.”

Wilson has started four games for the Lions, missing one game with a neck injury. He’s recorded 18 tackles and is well on his way to having the most productive season after four years with the Patriots.

“When he’s on the field, he’s been good and steady, certainly a real solid force for us,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s made tackles, he’s set a tone for us in that regard.”

And Wilson is doing it with impressive versatility, lining up in a variety of spots in the defensive backfield.

“I love the versatility of the position, whether it’s being in the box, playing man, playing zone, getting up on some guys and playing press coverage,” Wilson said. “I love everything about the situations my coaches are putting me in.”

Twitter: @justin_rogers