TJ Watt Debuts Atop the 16-30 Top Draft Prospects on Warbs’ Big Board: Post-Combine and Free Agency

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A Look at the top 16-30 draft prospects on Warbs’ Lions-tailored Big Board

Prospects Ranked 16-30 on the Big Board

16) TJ Watt (DE, Wisconsin)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Finally got to watch tape on Watt after an impressive Combine. He has an amazing motor. He always plays to the whistle. Plays really strong and uses his length well against pass blocking. Could improve on his fundamentals and develop more pass rush moves. Not an overly explosive athlete. But rarely does he lose contain on the edge in the run. The Lions have not had an edge setter at defensive end since Jason Jones left the team in 2015. Watt could fill that role as he develops a better pass rush ability.

17) Marlon Humphrey (CB, Alabama)

Last Week’s Rank: #20

The main question on Humphrey was whether or not he has the speed to play the deep ball. Posting a 4.41s 40 yard dash time should quell those questions. He is a gambler, but has the instincts and athleticism to make up for it most of the time. Does need serious help with his footwork as he can get really heavy footed and lose the receiver in transition.

18) Joe Mixon (RB, Oklahoma)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

The Lions have said they are not opposed to taking Mixon. Off the field issues are the obvious concern. But on the field Mixon is the second best running back in this class. Mixon can do it all and excels in space, which is something the Lions covet.

19) John Ross (WR, Washington)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Injury concerns and strength are serious concerns at the NFL level. But Ross is one of the top game changers in this class. Emotional and competitive player. Very quick feet. Also, breaking Chris Johnson’s record 40 yard dash time with a 4.22s 40 at this year’s Combine certainly does not hurt.

20) Zach Cunningham (WLB, Vanderbilt)

Last Week’s Rank: 17

Tackling issues and a slow 40 yard time are lowering Cunningham’s value to many people. But this is the time of year people start overthinking things. Cunningham was a leader, a play-maker, and displays great range and is solid in coverage. If he truly falls to the Lions’ second round pick, he could be a steal.

21) Jarrad Davis (WLB, Florida)

Last Week’s Rank: #22

Davis did not attend the NFL Combine so we have to wait until the Gators Pro Day to find out if he fits the athletic bill he put up on tape. But, the more tape you watch the more you really like his physical tools. He is very explosive. Though Davis does need to work on his over the top coverage and block shedding technique.

22) Taco Charlton (DE, Michigan)

Last Week’s Rank: #14

Taco’s stock has been falling and inconsistency on tape would be the major reason why. You like his athleticism on film, but seeing a poor Combine performance raises questions about his upside.

23) Obi Melifonwu (SS Hybrid, Connecticut) 

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Obi was not on many peoples’ radar heading into the Combine. At 6’4″ 224 lbs, running a 4.40s 40, and 44″ vertical jump, his athletic traits are off the chart. He needs some serious coaching and should play in the box more than over-the-top as he struggles there. He is not the most instinctual player. But could be a game changer if he improves the mental aspect of his game.

24) Tre’Davious White (CB, LSU)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

There is an argument for White being a nickel only CB because of his significant tackling inefficiency. But White is a very smooth cover corner. He is hardly ever out of position and flips his hips well, even against sharply ran routes. So there is an argument to be had for him outside depending on how much value the Lions put on their outside corner’s tackling ability.

25) Josh Jones (S, SDST)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Jones is your prototype for build at safety. He’s 6’1″, 220 lbs and killed the Combine with a 4.41s 40 yard time and a 37″ vertical. Very aggressive player, which is his biggest advantage and disadvantage. Coaches will have to rein him in a bit in the NFL or he will be exposed by elite QBs. If coaches can help him discern when to attack and when to play his assignment, he could be a play-maker at the next level.

26) Budda Baker (FS/Slot CB, Washington)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Baker is an interesting prospect because there is a guy in the NFL who plays the same role that Baker will likely fill: Tyann Mathieu. He is a shorter safety that has an incredibly quick burst that allows him to make plays that few others can. Can also play out of the slot against quicker players inside. Teryl Austin would have fun moving Baker around with Glover Quin over the top and Baker in the slot or Quin playing a robber role with Baker covering the deep middle.

27) Bucky Hodges (TE, Virginia Tech)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

Lions fans may think they are set at tight end this season with the recent signing of Fells. However, Lions staff have said they may not be done addressing the position. A guy who could be a day two steal is Hodges. He is a better athlete than Ebron. Taller (6’6″) and faster (4.57s 40 yard dash) while being able to sky for jump balls with a 37″ vertical. Hodges is already a pretty imposing blocker. But he has yet to figure out how to truly run routes crisp enough to create separation. He is not great after the catch either. But, with his athletic tools there is huge upside to taking Hodges as a blocking TE with huge receiving upside.

28) Samaje Perine (RB, Oklahoma)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

I am admittedly higher on Perine than most. Some may view this rank as too high. But it is important to remember that there are players taken day two and three that should have been taken earlier, every year. I think Perine is one of these guys. He is an absolute bruiser. Keeps churning his legs whenever contact is made. Displays good balance and pad level. Runs angry often. Some think he wont be an RB1 with his lack of speed and burst. Which is okay because Detroit would not need him to be. Perine can be the thunder to Ameer Abdullah‘s lightning.

29) Juju Smith-Schuster (WR, USC)

Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

The Lions could miss the hole left by Anquan Boldin this next season. Juju is like Boldin in a lot of ways. Not as fast or quick as some may like. But he has very good strength in his body and hands. Knows how to position himself to catch balls in traffic. Matthew Stafford needs a wide receiver he can trust to make a catch for a touchdown. Juju could be that guy and may be available late day two due to his speed deficiency.

30) Jabrill Peppers (SS, Michigan)

Last Week’s Rank: 15

Jabrill does a lot of things well. The problem is there is no one thing he is great at. He’s versatile and has some great burst. He appears to not be instinctual in coverage, but has some upside as an in the box safety with his great athleticism. Bob Quinn and Teryl Austin covet versatility and the ability to do everything on defense. Peppers fills that role and could be available after the 1st round if his stock continues to fall.


In case you missed it, check out prospects ranked 1-15 on the first part of the Big Board!

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