Now, they’ll have to look even more.
Starting slot corner Bill Bentley tore his ACL Monday night in the first half of the Lions' 35-14 win against the New York Giants after playing three snaps, ending his season and leaving the team, for now, with only four healthy cornerbacks and seven healthy defensive backs overall. The Lions officially put Bentley on injured reserve Tuesday.
His injury leaves the Lions with Slay and Mathis, Cassius Vaughn and rookie Nevin Lawson, who replaced Bentley on Monday, as their cornerbacks. This has been a lingering issue for Detroit, which initially signed Drayton Florence in hopes he could provide depth before cutting him during camp.
Then the team cut its own developmental corners, Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood, before the initial 53-man roster was set. After keeping only five corners, the team worked out multiple players at the position last week, including former All-Pro Champ Bailey.
It is possible one of those workout players could sign with Detroit soon.
As whomever the Lions sign gets up to speed and potentially playing shape, Detroit could have some major secondary issues as it prepares to face Carolina and Green Bay the next two weeks. Safeties James Ihedigbo and Don Carey missed the season-opener and are not guarantees to play against the Panthers Sunday.
But Lions coach Jim Caldwell believes in what the team has behind its starters -- evidenced by keeping undrafted rookie safety Jerome Couplin on the roster and inserting Lawson to replace Bentley.
“The young guys that we have in position that are backing up those spots are very capable," Caldwell said. "I think anybody that you see that's on our 53 and even on our practice squad, at least in my 14 years in this league, that typically all 63 guys that you have on your active roster and also on your practice squad, at some point, they help you."
Another potential option for the Lions -- although it would be a dangerous one considering the lack of experience or depth -- is to promote Mohammed Seisay to the active roster to bring the team back to five cornerbacks. He has potential but is still very raw at the position. He did work some in the slot during camp, though, along with playing on the outside.