Grant Delpit is a top 2020 NFL draft prospect that stood out during the regular season scouting process.
While the Lions have been off to a blazing hot start so far this season, the regular season scouting process has also been in full swing for the Detroit Lions front office and fans of the NFL Draft. The first month of the college football season has been one filled with great plays and standout players, a lot of whom are expected to declare for the draft. Here’s just a roundup of some players that Detroit Lions fans should be paying attention to as the season wears on.
Tylan Wallace, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State
One player to keep an eye on who’s been performing very well so far so far during this year’s regular season scouting process is Oklahoma State’s receiver Tylan Wallace. Wallace is a player who brings a dynamic play maker to the offense that he plays on. He’s got pretty good hands as any receiver should, but the best aspects of his game are what he does after the catch. He does a great job of extending plays at all three levels beyond the catch point and picking up as many yards as possible for his team. He’s also one of the best route runners expected to declare for the draft. Additionally, he shows a lot of vision and field awareness as well, and does a good job of recognizing coverage and attacking the weak points of the opposing defense.
AJ Epenesa, Defensive End, Iowa
Another player who stands out the Lions may be taking a look at during this year’s regular season scouting process is AJ Epenesa, a defensive end from Iowa. While Ohio State EDGE rusher Chase Young likely goes higher than the Lions will be picking, Epenesa may be the better fit for the Lions anyways. Epenesa is a defensive lineman who has the ability to rotate inside and rush the interior in some situations, and is a premier run defender who excels against the Big Ten’s rushing attacks. He has a strong motor and does a great job of staying active throughout the entire game, one area of struggle for the Lions so far this season.
Bryce Hall, Cornerback, Virginia
One position the Lions may be prioritizing during regular season scouting is the cornerback position. While Amani Oruwariye has a lot of upside and could absolutely be a piece for this team to develop into a number two corner, adding a corner early may be a good move as well. Cornerback is one position in the NFL where you can never have too many good players, and Bryce Hall can be a good NFL player early in his career.
Hall excels in a variety of roles including run support and pass rushing. While his tackling could use some work, he has a base to work with against the run and fits that requirement from Matt Patricia. Additionally, he’s versatile in the back end, playing well in zone and man, guarding both physical and quick receivers. One more aspect of Hall that makes him appealing is that he’s done the finer aspects of the corner position well. He knows how to enforce the boundary, he can play press coverage, and he recognizes routes at a high level.
Isaiah Simmons, Hybrid Defender, Clemson
One more player to keep an eye on during the regular season scouting process is Isaiah Simmons, a versatile defender from Clemson. One thing the Lions love under Matt Patricia is a player who can fill a variety of roles at a high level, and Simmons is a perfect description. He plays almost every position on the defensive side of the football except defensive tackle. The best part is that he can, and does them effectively.
While he’s most likely going to get most of his NFL snaps as either a safety or a linebacker, he’s also shown he can be effective as a nickel corner, or off the edge. Simmons brings skills to all four phases of defense- run defending, man coverage, zone coverage and pass rushing. He’s also a very reliable tackler and he’s extremely athletic as well. He’s a little small for the Lions at the linebacker position at 6’3″, 225 lbs, but that would be quality for a safety role to upgrade from Tavon Wilson and possibly Will Harris.
Overall, there are a lot of great players to pay attention to and watch as the college season continues to progress. The regular season scouting process is in full swing, and there’s been a lot of standout players so far this season.
Note- Some players did not get mentioned (like Grant Delpit and Jerry Jeudy for instance) because they’re projected to go much higher than the Lions range. Also, not all of these players may end up declaring, but they are likely to based on current draft position.