Yesterday I linked to a five round mock draft for the Detroit Lions completed by NFL Mocks. I thought it would be a good idea to take a more in depth look at the players highlighted in that mock draft. Whether or not these players ultimately become Lions remains to be seen but this series will make for a more informed fan ahead of next month’s draft.
I decided to start my look at the players selected in the mock with the second round pick, a guy that I have been pondering for quite some time now: Penn State interior offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski.
Stefen Wisniewski was one of only two Penn State true freshman to get playing time during the 2007 season when he played in eight games. Wisniewski stepped into a starting role for the Nittany Lions as a sophomore when he made 12 starts at right guard in 2008. He transitioned to center for his junior season and ended the year as a first team performer in the Big Ten. As a senior, Wisniewski moved back to right guard and earned first team all-Big Ten honors once again. Honors have also come due to his performance in the classroom.
Weight: 313 lbs
Hands: 10 3/8″
40 yd dash: 5.35 sec
225 lb reps: 30
Vertical Jump: 28.5″
Shuttle: 4.63 sec
Cone: 7.51 sec
Broad Jump: 8’4″
Despite spending most of his collegiate career at guard, most scouts view Wisniewski as a center. I view this potential pick in the same way as the chatter surrounding the potential of the Lions taking a tackle with the first round pick: a preemptive strike at a need that will arise in the near future. Like Jeff Backus, Dominic Raiola probably only has a few years left in him. Even so, there is a contingent of fans that would love to see him replaced as soon as possible. It makes sense to compare the two should Wisniewski be an eventual replacement for Dominic Raiola. The biggest complaint that many fans have about Dom is his lack of size. Stefan Wisniewski is about two inches taller and 11 to 18 pounds heavier than Raiola. While Wisniewski is a bit bigger than Raiola he still would only rank as an averaged sized NFL center.
So, is he any good? ESPN and CBS sports agree that Wisniewski will be drafted in the second or third round. At 44 overall the Lions might be reaching for what could amount to being a younger and slightly bigger version of what they already have. ESPN scouting reports give Wisniewski and above average grade for his awareness and football smarts but below average in terms of height, weight and speed due to a lack of bulk.
One of the things Wisniewski has going for him is his character and football pedigree. CBS sports notes this in their intangibles analysis:
Is the type of intelligent, high-character, durable, hard-working, strong lineman all NFL offensive line coaches want leading their groups. Exceptional student-athlete, earning first-team Academic All-American honors in 2008, ’09 and ’10. Student teacher in 10th grade English at State College Area High School in 2009. Very involved in the community on issues from autism to Habitat for Humanity. Went on multiple mission trips to the Dominican Republic with father, Leo, and uncle, Steve, who both played for the Nittany Lions and in the NFL.
I think Wisniewski is an intriguing prospect and the kind of guy that the Lions want to use to build their team but I’m not sure he is a big enough prospect for them to take with their second round pick. Tell me Lions fans, do you see Wisniewski as Raiola part two or is he big enough to quiet Dom’s critics?