The Lions have activated cornerback/return man Jamal Agnew from injured reserve, the club announced today.
Agnew, 23, earned All-Pro honors as a specialist during his rookie season in 2017 after leading the NFL in punt return yardage and average, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. His prowess in the kicking game had continued into this season, but Agnew had also been asked to play more on defense, where his playtime percentage had jumped from just 7.8% a year ago to 36.3% in 2018. Pro Football Focus gave Agnew poor marks for his coverage abilities, however, grading him as a bottom-10 cornerback.
Detroit has no chance at making the postseason, so it’s fair to wonder why the Lions would risk Agnew’s health in a lost year. But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com wrote earlier this month, Agnew could use the final two weeks of the 2018 campaign to get more experience playing cornerback. Detroit can certainly use all the help it can get, as the club has been deploying lackluster options Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford (an undrafted rookie free agent) alongside Darius Slay. The Lions currently rank 32nd in pass defense DVOA and 31st in opposing passer rating allowed.
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