Lions look at the Senior Bowl
If you've been reading this blog, you're going to have a fair idea of where Detroit's interests in the 2021 NFL Draft are. That being said, I consider the positions of need to be (in no particular order, and these can also be filled by free agency):-
(+ denotes and, / denotes or)
RB2 (Kerryon Johnson could well fill this spot)
WR1+2 (depending on Golladay status)
TE2 (but Hunter Bryant is ok to fill in here)
RG1 (but Dahl and Aboushi are ok to fill in here)
DE1/2 (depending on R Okwara's return)
So, let's have a look at some of those positions in terms of today's Senior Bowl: (PFF rank in brackets, ur = unranked)
Sam Ehlinger - Texas (189)
Ian Book - Notre Dame (277)
Feleipe Franks - Arkansas (ur)
Kellen Mond - Texas A&M (178)
Jamie Newman - Wake Forest (84)
Mac Jones - Alabama (29)
Kyle Trask (43) was going to play for the American Team but was injured and will not play.
Of the above, the most highly rated is Mac Jones. He's a pocket passer in the style of Ben Roethlisberger. He's probably a round 2 talent but is slated to go in Round 1.
In terms of Lions interest, the smart money seems to be on Jamie Newman. He's ranked 84th by PFF, 90th by Tankathon. He's physically gifted but quite inconsistent. He started and broke out for Wake Forest in 2019 before transferring to the Georgia Bulldogs for 2020 and then opting out of the season due to the pandemic. He should go in round 3 and may not play regardless in 2021.
Ben Skowronek - Notre Dame (ur)
Desmond Fitzpatrick - Louisville (ur)
D'Wayne Eskridge - Western Michigan (ur)
Cade Johnson - South Dakota State (197)
Tylan Wallace - Oklahoma State (54)
Nico Collins - Michigan (153)
Frank Darby - Arizona State (231)
Devonta Smith - Alabama (8)
Sage Surratt - Wake Forest (70)
Racey McMath - LSU (ur)
Marquez Stevenson - Houston (219)
Austin Watkins Jr - UAB (196)
Josh Palmer - Tennessee (221)
Shi Smith - South Carolina (161)
Kadarius Toney - Florida (24)
Trevon Grimes - Florida (220)
Amari Rodgers - Clemson (136)
Cornell Powell - Clemson (108)
The stand out talent from this group is Devonta Smith. The Lions could go for a bridge QB and either go elite defense or offense, and if they go for offense then Smith MIGHT still be there at 7.
Outside of Smith, Toney could be a possibility. He'd be a reach at 7, but if Stafford is traded to Indy for the 21st pick (+some) then he becomes a very viable prospect. He's played very well in training for the Senior Bowl and could be moving up the boards. He played QB at high school and was a former track athlete. He's now an electric slot receiver but not the best route runner.
Jonathon Cooper - OSU (109)
Rashad Weaver - Pittsburgh (63)
Patrick Jones II - Pittsburgh (128)
Adetokunbo Ogundeji - Notre Dame (168)
Daelin Hayes - Notre Dame (173)
Tarron Jackson - Coastal Carolina (224)
Elerson Smith - Northern Iowa (256)
Shaka Toney - Texas (148)
Hamilcar Rashed Jr - Oregon State (139)
Wyatt Hubert - Kansas State (ur)
Carlos Basham Jr - Wake Forest (28)
Cameron Sample - Tulane (187)
Malik Herring - Georgia (165)
Payton Turner - Houston (52)
Janarius Robinson - Florida State (ur)
Quincy Roche - Miami (100)
William Bradley-King - Baylor (248)
Charles Snowden - Virginia (175)
Jordan Smith - UAB (104)
Obviously, there's a lot of names in that list, but the few that jump out for me are Patrick Jones, who's trained well in the run-up to this event, as well as Jordan Smith who was the 65th ranked EDGE in 2019. Tarron Jackson is ranked only 224th but was the 3rd ranked EDGE in 2020 and could be worth a late-round pick.
Whatever happens, it's sure to be an excellent event.
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