Lions view new CB Justin Coleman more as a nickel

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Justin Coleman

Phoenix — Justin Coleman earned a big payday with the Detroit Lions after two successful seasons as Seattle's nickel cornerback.

But it was unclear if that's how he would fit in Detroit's scheme.

Prior to Seattle, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Coleman played two seasons in New England, in a defense led by Lions coach Matt Patricia. There, Coleman split his time playing inside and outside.

Talking at the league meetings Monday, Lions general manager Bob Quinn said the team values Coleman's versatility, but indicated the early projection is the 25-year-old defensive back will be more of an inside option this go-around with Patricia. 

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"Position versatility is key, for sure," Quinn said. "He did play both outside and inside during my time (in New England). Primarily the past two seasons in season, he did play inside.  I would say, going forward, he’s more inside than outside."

Quinn also made certain not to set Coleman's future role in stone. 

"We’re going to go through the process and see how he fits within the group," Quinn said. "I’d say we have a lot of players that have that inside, outside flexibility on our team at the corner position. We’re going put them all out there in the offseason, during training camp and figure out where guys are going to play."

If Coleman does stick inside, it opens the door for another of Detroit's recent signings, Rashaan Melvin, to stake a claim at the outside job opposite Darius Slay.

Melvin is projected to be competing with Mike Ford, Teez Tabor and potentially a draft pick for that role.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers