The BCS formula determined the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide to be the best two college football teams in 2012 so it is no surprise that tonight’s BCS National Championship Game will feature a number of players who will be 2013 NFL Draft picks, some of whom could be under consideration for the Detroit Lions. Here are those players to keep an eye on as you watch tonight’s game.
Discover BCS National Championship
Notre Dame vs. Alabama
8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame – Manti Te’o was a highly coveted player coming out of high school and he will be regarded just as highly coming out of college. Some early mock drafts have Te’o coming off the board within the top five picks, including some that have him landing with the Lions.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama – Like Te’o, some consider Dee Milliner a top five talent and worthy of the Lions’ consideration with the fifth overall pick. At 6’1″ and 198 pounds, he has the size Gunther Cunningham would like in his corners.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama – It’s no secret that the Lions need get better on the interior of their offensive line and Chance Warmack is one of the highest, if not the highest, rated guards in the 2013 draft class. The Lions will likely have to pull off a trade to land Warmack as a guard won’t ever warrant a top-five pick but a talent like Warmack won’t fall out of the first round.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame – I have a hard time seeing the Lions drafting Eifert if he’s available in the second round but they are serious about surrounding Matthew Stafford with weapons. Although they haven’t publicly soured on Brandon Pettigrew it is a situation worth watching as his drops/ball security issues have continued. The discussion may be moot anyway – Eifert could certainly be drafted between the Lions’ first two picks.
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama – The Lions love versatility and offensive linement don’t get any more versatile than Barrett Jones. A win over the Irish will give Jones the distinction of being a three-time national champion while starting at three different positions on the offensive line. He played right guard before being asked to play left tackle last year and has been Alabama’s center in 2012. Center may be his long-term position in the NFL but Jones has the ability to contribute anywhere a need arises.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama – Fluker is a mountain of a man and might have a hard time sticking at tackle in the NFL as a result. Teams that can view him as a tackle long-term might consider him late in the first round but he could slide if not. Probably no later than a round two prospect either way.
Robert Lester, S, Alabama – Lester can play the run or the pass but isn’t outstanding in either area. The versatility is a plus but it will likely keep him from being drafted in the top two rounds. He could be an option for the Lions, who need help at saftey, starting in round three.
Braxston Cave, C, Notre Dame – If the Lions want to address the interior of their line in the draft but do it later than where Barrett Jones could be an option, Braxston Cave could get a look around the fourth round. He’s a little bigger than Dominic Raiola, something Lions fans will love considering the constant criticism of Raiola being undersized.
Zeke Motta, S, Notre Dame – He won’t be the best safety prospect in the game but Zeke Motta will hear his name called in April, probably on day three.
Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame – He may not be the speedster the Lions need on offense but Theo Riddick might be agile enough to give the Lions the added dimension they’ve missed in Jahvid Best’s absence. Seeing what he can do against the Alabama defense is an excellent way to size up how much value he could bring to the Lions as a late-round pick.