The Detroit Lions have installed a new defense that favors players who are versatile.

It favors players such as Don Carey.

He is a reserve safety whose primary value has been on special teams. He played just 197 defensive snaps last year, most of which came late in the season with the secondary already floundering.

But Carey did show an ability to play not only safety, but in the nickel. And defensive coordinator Teryl Austin values players who fill multiple roles.

"Don gives you great flexibility," Austin said. "Having been around the league, guys like Don are hard to come by. He is smart of enough to play a bunch of different positions, but also having the physical ability to do it. So, he's a pretty valuable piece for us and I know he does a great job on special teams.

"You have to have your starters, but you've got to have a lot of guys like Don Carey on your team if you want to win."

Carey didn't grade out particularly well last year. He was the Lions' second-worst defensive player according to ProFootballFocus, a leading advanced-metrics site.