Lions CB Rashaan Melvin eyes rebound with better scheme fit
Allen Park — Even though he didn't utter the Detroit Lions' unofficial offseason motto, "last year is last year," it's clear cornerback Rashaan Melvin didn't have much interest in revisiting the past.
The journeyman cornerback is focused on his latest opportunity, with the Lions, where he's looking to rebound from a disappointing 2018 campaign in a scheme he feels better fits his skills.
"All coaches have different techniques and different schemes," Melvin said. "Unfortunately, (Oakland) wanted me to do something I wasn’t as comfortable with. I’m here now and it fits me the way I feel I should be playing."
The translation here is Oakland plays a zone-heavy coverage scheme, while the Lions, as multiple as they try to be in all facets of the defense, play more man-to-man on the outside.
Melvin has some familiarity with what Lions coach Matt Patricia likes to run, since he briefly played for the coach in New England a few years back.
To be fair, Melvin has played a lot of places. Detroit will be his seventh NFL stop in as many years after going undrafted out of Northern Illinois in 2013. And he's coming in on another one-year, prove-it deal.
But there's enough there to believe he'll be a decent fit. He's got unteachable size, at 6-foot-2, and better than average speed, having run a 4.42-second 40-yard dash coming out of college. Most importantly, he has the playmaking skills the Lions were determined to add this offseason.
Even after his down year in Oakland, Melvin has defended 24 passes in his past 24 games.
No stranger to starting, he'll enter the mix for the job opposite Darius Slay in Detroit, competing against former second-round pick Teez Tabor, rookie Amani Oruwariye, Marcus Cooper and Mike Ford.
Melvin is going in with the mindset it's his job to lose.
"I don't think you go into a place thinking you're not going to start and not going to play," Melvin said. "That's a recipe for failure, a recipe for not making the team. You know, you come in competing at a high level thinking you're going to start, I think you're going to play a lot and help this team win."
The Lions certainly need a ball hawk opposite Slay. While the former All-Pro finished fourth in the NFL with 16 pass defenses, the team's next best cornerback in that department was Nevin Lawson with five. Additionally, only the San Francisco 49ers finished with fewer interceptions than Detroit's seven in 2018.