Who to Watch at the Senior Bowl: Detroit Lions

Next week the football world will descend on Mobile, Alabama for a week of intense practice, scouting, interviews, and eventually the Senior Bowl All-Star game.  The Lions have at least one pick in each round, including two in the 6th and 7th rounds, so there are plenty of opportunities to add the necessary pieces to make a playoff push in Matt Patricia’s 2nd season.  I briefly went through the needs of this off-season in my last article, along with some 1st round targets (Lions 1st Round Options Post-National Championship)

There’s a ton of intriguing prospects for Detroit in this game, both in terms of early round starters and late round depth pieces, and I’ll highlight some guys I’m looking at in our positions of need.

Edge Rusher

  • Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
    • 4 seasons, 67.5 TFL, 45 sacks.  The NCAA career sack leader is an interesting case in this draft because of his competition.  Isn’t the bendy pass rusher I normally love, but has a good 1st step, is great with his hands, and you can’t ignore that production.
  • Charles Omenihu, Texas
    • Omenihu is a versatile guy that should fit well into a Matt Patricia scheme.  Listed at 6’6 275 has played inside and outside, posting 9.5 sacks and 18 sacks in his senior year.  Is super explosive for a guy of his size and should be an early day 2 picck.
  • Christian Miller, Alabama
    • Miller is a weird study because there’s just not that much tape on him.  He has played only 28 games in 4 years at Alabama, but is an intelligent, physical player with long arms who could be a steal in the 3rd round.

Cornerback

  • Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
    • At this point in the process Oruwariye is an early day 2 pick, and has the prototype size for today’s CB.  He’s the best CB in this game, and has the necessary tools to be an early boundary starter in the NFL.
  • Isaiah Johnson, Houston
    • Another guy with tremendous size and length (listed at 6’4), a former wide receiver Johnson definitely has ball skills, but lacks experience at the position.  If you trust coaching he has a high ceiling as a day 3 pick.
  • Corey Ballentine, Washburn
    • Haven’t seen much tape on Ballentine, but he’s got the size and speed for the next level, I’m interested to see him against better competition to see if he can be a day 3 steal.

Safety

  • Nasir Adderley, Delaware
    • I talked about Nasir Adderley last week, but this guy is an absolute stud and has all the traits you look for in today’s NFL.  Look for Adderley to be a 1st round pick come April.
  • Juan Thornhill, Virginia
    • Thornhill is a super versatile safety, is solid in man coverage, has the traits to play an effective single-high spot, and has the physicality to play in the box.  He should be a day 2 pick.
  • Darnell Savage, Maryland
    • Versatility is the name of the game, and Savage fits that mold.  He has good ball skills (7 ints, 10 pbus in the last 2 seasons), he is super aggressive in coverage, and has the physical tools to play both man and zone coverage.

Wide Receiver

  • Jakobi Meyers, NC St
    • As the 2nd best WR on his team, Meyers was overshadowed by Kelvin Harmon, but finished with over 90 catches and 1,000 yards.  Has good size, worked out of the slot, and works well in space.
  • Anthony Johnson, Buffalo
    • Another well rounded, versatile receiver that can operate anywhere in the offense.  Extremely productive, averaged over 17 ypc with 25 TDs the last two seasons, I’m looking for Johnson to show some sort of trump card this week.
  • Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
    • Deebo will be a day 2 pick with a lot of production and big play ability he showed in his 4 years of school.  One major concern is his injury history, but he has all the traits you look for in a big play slot receiver.

Tight End

  • Dax Raymond, Utah State
    • In a really good TE class, the senior bowl doesn’t have many great options.  That said Raymond is probably the best.  He has NFL size and is athletic enough to fill a pass-catching role that this offense needs.
  • Josh Oliver, San Jose St
    • Not much available tape on Oliver, but you can’t ignore the 700 yards and 4 TDs in his senior year.  Natural athlete with a high ceiling who I’m interested to see against better competition, could be a day 3 steal.
  • Donald Parham, Stetson
    • I’ll be honest I know next to nothing about this guy, but he’s 6’8 and had 1,300 yards and 13 TDs this year.  Tell me you’re not intrigued.

Linebacker

  • Bobby Okereke, Stanford
    • Not a great LB class in the draft this year, but Okereke has one of the higher ceilings of the available players.  He’s nowhere near a perfect linebacker, but he’s athletic and productive, and has a shot to sneak into day 2.
  • Germaine Pratt, NC State
    • Former safety with good size and tremendous upside.  Really good in coverage, and stronger than you think against the run.  Would be a good fit for Patricia as an early day 3 player.
  • Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
    • Another former safety with a ton of production through 4 years of playing time.  Finished his career with 391 tackles, 43.5 TFL, 11 sacks, and 8 INTs.  Another versatile play-maker to let Patricia find a role for.

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