A Look At The Top 15 Draft Prospects That Fit The Detroit Lions System.
As many fans begin to settle into the off-season role of checking what free agents may be available or which current Lions could stay or become free agents themselves, around this time, attention starts looking towards the NFL Draft. With the NFL Combine approaching a week from now, it is a good time to take a look at the top prospects the Lions should be looking at during the combine and potentially drafting.
This Lions tailored draft board segment is going to help Lions fans get an idea of the top prospects that fit what the Lions do schematically, filling positional needs, and players that could play a role in the system. Each week players will move up and down the board based on more tape watched on the player or NFL Combine numbers or pro day numbers. As time goes on and more tape is watched, there will be more prospects added to the list.
Players Ranked 1-15 on the Board
1) Myles Garrett (DE, Texas A&M)
At 6’5″ 270, Garrett is exactly what you look for in a 4-3 defense to play your end position. He’s strong and quick, with the frame to get even stronger. Arguably the best player in the draft.
2) Jonathan Allen (DT, Alabama)
Allen is an intriguing prospect because some do not see him as a scheme fit in a 4-3, but with his size and athleticism he could have success in both schemes similar to Fletcher Cox.
3) Malik Hooker (S, Ohio State)
Hooker is likely the only player that would be realistic and advantageous for the Lions to move up and select. Incredibly instinctual and aware, he’s always around the ball. A high ceiling since he’s shown Ed Reed like instincts with a Brian Dawkins build. Best range of any defensive back in a deep defensive back class.
4) Solomon Thomas (DE, Stanford)
Thomas has already shown a nice pass rush repertoire in college. The main issue with Thomas is he is a bit of a tweener at 6’3″, but has the athleticism to make up for it.
5) Jamal Adams (SS, LSU)
Adams and Hooker make up the top tier of safeties in this class. While Adams does not have the same cover skills or instincts against the pass as Hooker, he is the best run stopper at the safety position. He hardly ever takes a bad angle and wraps up on almost every tackle. Hard hitter and diagnoses screens incredibly well. Could fill the Ihedigbo role Teryl Austin has been missing.
6) Marshon Lattimore (CB, Ohio State)
Has the most fluid hips of any cornerback in recent memory. Uses the sideline well and is really physical on the line. Attacks the ball when it is in the air and hardly ever lets the receiver win on a jump ball.
7) Sidney Jones (CB, Washington)
Fearless when attacking the ball and uses his length well to disrupt receivers at the line and coming out of breaks. However, he has a wiry build that could cause issues against physical receivers in the NFL.
8) Reuben Foster (WLB, Alabama)
Foster would ideally fit the weak side linebacking role for the Lions. Could bolster the weakest part of the Lions roster in coverage. Hard hitter, fast, and aggressive playmaker. Can get caught with his eyes in the backfield, bad tackling at times, and his injury history is a concern. But Foster would be hard to pass on for a team that needs to address this position.
9) Leonard Fournette (RB, LSU)
The Lions need a power running back badly. Fournette has athleticism you drool over, but health and vision are the main concerns here. Lions lack RBs with vision, and it’s unlikely he will be there at 21, but his size/speed combo would be hard to pass up.
10) Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
For Lions fans, his name is the worst part of this projection. Put your minds at ease, this Mike Williams is a game changer. Excellent route running for someone of his size and build (6’3″ 222 lb). Wins most jump balls and can play outside and in the slot.
11) Derek Barnett (DE, Tennessee)
He beat Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee. He’s fast and has great bend. Very small pass rush pool to use, but his spin move is absolutely lethal. If he can develop counter-moves, he could be the best pass rusher of the group.
12) Corey Davis (WR, Western Michigan)
Always a threat to take it to the house. Davis is the top home run hitter of the class. Consistent and hard working player. Polished route running with great burst and wiggle with the ball in his hand.
13) Teez Tabor (CB, Florida)
Has some of the best instincts and mirrors receivers incredibly well. Has the prototypical size/speed Teryl Austin looks for in his corners. Off the field problems and jersey grabbing are issues and some question of his deep speed. A slow 40 yard time could really hurt his stock, but he is as talented in coverage as any DB in the class.
14) Taco Charleton (DE, Michigan)
The Lions have missed the hole left by Jason Jones for a while now. No DE could edge contain or run stuff on this roster in 2016, sans Ziggy Ansah. Charleton has a natural feel against the run and has shown promise in pass rush, but needs NFL coaching to take the next step.
15) David Njoku (TE, Miami)
Bob Quinn has made it clear that regardless of draft position, if he identifies a need on this team, he will fill it. Rumors are the Lions are looking to target TE this off-season and Njuko could be that guy. He could compliment to Ebron by being the in line TE while Ebron splits out to the slot. Njuko would add another layer to this offense that it has been missing.