After trading Darius Slay to the Eagles, Detroit was in need of an experienced boundary corner. Although the club did sign Desmond Trufant, the second option on the depth chart before the Roberts signing was slot man Justin Coleman.
The Lions have been linked to Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah, one of the most talented defenders in this year’s draft, and adding Roberts will certainly not preclude Detroit from selecting Okudah, who is said to be very high on the team’s draft board. On the other hand, the Lions do have a number of holes to fill and they already own four of the first 85 picks in the draft, so they may now be more amenable to trading down from the No. 3 pick to further stock up on draft capital while still giving themselves the opportunity to draft a player like Derrick Brown.
Roberts, 29, is not one of the league’s best corners, but he does have 56 appearances and 26 career starts to his credit, including back-to-back 10-start seasons in 2018-19. The former seventh-round pick inked a three-year, $18MM deal with the Jets in March 2019, but he graded out as an average-at-best player, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. So the Jets’ new regime dropped him in order to save $6MM against the books.
In his four years of regular season action, Roberts has accumulated 172 tackles to go along with three interceptions and 27 passes defensed.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.