My look at the players in the five round mock draft for the Detroit Lions published by NFL Mocks started with Penn State center Stefen Wisniewski and continues with Boston College outside linebacker Mark Herzlich. The guys at NFL Mocks have Herzlich joining the Lions as their third round pick.
Let’s start with the quick write-up NFL Mocks has accompanying their selection:
Reliant on him acing a physical the Lions could give him. Herzlich is the most instinctual linebacker in this draft and one of the most productive as well. He is not the most physically dominating player in the world, but he’ll remind the Lions a lot of Kyle Vanden Bosch with his hustle and understanding of the game of football. Herzlich had 10 interceptions the past two seasons in college due to his superior instincts and because he’s always around the football. Two years removed from Bone Cancer I think he can get back to his two years ago form.
Weight: 233 lbs
Mark Herzlich certainly plays at a position of need. The Lions are looking for two outside linebackers to take over the full time starting gig, although one or both could be filled by internal candidates like Bobby Carpenter and Ashlee Palmer. In addition to playing a position of need, Herzlich also possesses traits that the Lions value. ESPN gives him an “exceptional” grade, the highest possible, in the intangibles category and goes the extra step of noting his intangibles as “rare”:
Rare intangibles. Has displayed exceptional courage in his recovery from cancer. Remained a team leader throughout his fight. Outstanding work ethic and the type of person all 32 NFL teams want in their lockerroom.
He was much more than a glue-guy or a locker room presence at Boston College; the dude can play and it shows in his scouting reports. Herzlich is regarded as a smart football player that puts himself in the right position and possesses good instincts. This level of football smarts shows up in the stats in the form of fumble recoveries and interceptions. ESPN regards him as an average tackler but CBS Sports has a more favorable opinion:
One of the more reliable open-field tacklers in the nation. Excellent balance for his size when breaking down to tackle smaller, quicker athletes. Shows proper technique in running through his tackles and his form is a picture of the hit-lift-drive technique. Shows legitimate explosiveness as a hitter, often knocking the ballcarrier backward. Wraps his arms securely rather than relying on impact when leading with his shoulder or helmet. Possesses the long arms and good hand-eye coordination to trip up ballcarriers in pursuit.
So is Mark Herzlich worthy of the third round pick as projected by NFL Mocks? That depends on how concerned you are about his health history. Some scouting services list him as a fourth to fifth round prospect, even while providing little cause for concern in the analysis of his game or body. It appears that Herzlich is often discounted due to the chance of his cancer returning. Other sites (Draft Tek, for instance) that are apparently less concerned about his health agree with NFL Mocks and place Herzlich in about the third round.
What do you think Lions fans? Would you like to see Herzlich wearing the Honolulu blue and silver?