It’s been a fun week for football fans watching the Senior Bowl practices on NFL network as the next crop of NFL prospects begin the long draft process. This week, we got a chance to take a look at some of the best senior prospects for the 2013 NFL draft go one on one and compete. Below are a few prospects that have really separated themselves in competition this week and could be drafted by the Detroit Lions in April.
David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State – Quessenberry was a beast this week. He has shown great technique, good athleticism, great size at 6’5 295 lbs, and could start from day one at right tackle. I’d be surprised if he fell in the fourth to the fifth round and I could even see him getting drafted late in the second round after what he’s shown this week. If the Lions decide it’s time to move on from Jeff Backus, which is entirely possible given the Lions are looking to get younger on the offensive line, Quessenberry would provide great valuefor the Lions with a third or fourth round pick. Projected Round: 3-4
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor – Just looking at Williams he looks like a a starting NFL wide receiver. The 6’2, 201 lbs receiver has shown great speed and route running and would be a great complementary deep opposite of Calvin Johnson. Williams is projected as a second round pick by most analysts, but he looks like a first round talent to me. With Titus Young destroying any chance of a possible return to the Lions next season with his latest twitter rants, Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson coming off significant leg injuries the Lions have a serious need at the wide receiver position. As much as Lions fans don’t want to see another wide receiver taken with a high round pick, the Lions will be taking a serious look at a player like Williams if he is available in the second round, and I think it would be the right decision. He’s been really impressive. Projected Round: late first, early second round
Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky – The Lions are looking to get younger along the offensive line and Warford would be a great pick in the third round if the Lions chose to go that route, assuming Warford is on the board. He has good lateral quickness, uses his hands well and fits the bill for a starting NFL guard at 6’3, 307 lbs. A lot of scouts are in love with Chance Warmack of Alabama and Jonathan Cooper out of North Carolina, but in the NFL draft, teams want to get the most value out of each their picks Warford would provide that in the late second or third round. Projected Round: 2
Phillip Thomas, SS, Fresno State – Thomas has exactly what the Lions are looking for, size, 6’0 201 lbs, and playmaking ability, recorded eight interceptions this season which led the NCAA, and his play this week at the Senior Bowl has been just as good. Thomas uses his size well and has played physical with the tight ends and receivers all week. He could very well be the second or third safety taken in the draft. I have the Lions taking Kenny Vaccaro with their first round pick in my latest mock draft. Given Vaccaro’s versatility to play either safety position and some nickel corner, as well as Louis Delmas’s injury problems and the fact that the Lions may not re-sign him because of this, I wouldn’t be upset or surprised to see Thomas taken with the Lions’ second round pick. After all, one the Lions’ major weaknesses is playmakers in the secondary and what better of a way to address that then by selecting the player that led all defensive backs with eight interceptions last season. Projected Round: 2
Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers - Greene didn’t necessarily have a “break out” week during practices this week, but he definitely caught my eye enough to do some more in depth scouting on him. After looking at his body of work in college I was really impressed. Green finished his collegiate career with 387 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and six interceptions. He’s a versatile player too, with the ability to play any of the linebacker position and even started the safety position to begin his career, which is always a plus for me when I scout a player, because it shows me that he has better understanding of defensive schemes. Greene’s also an exceptional athlete running the forty in 4.64 at 6’1, 236 lbs. There’s a lot of different ways the Lions could go in round two. If the Lions lose DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant or both in free agency this summer, this would be the direction I’d go with my second round pick. Projected Round: 2
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - Mark my words, Lane Johnson will be one of the biggest risers in the 2013 draft. Johnson is already projected as a mid to late first round pick, but has only played offensive tackles for two years as he started his collegiate career playing mostly quarterback and tight end. Johnson has prototypical size at 6’6, 302 lbs, and he confirmed this week during practices that he runs in the 4.7′s in the forty yard dash. Johnson has as much potential as anyone in the draft. With that said, I’m not sure there is a scenario where the Lions use a first round pick on Johnson, but given the Lions have turned some heads with their high round selections lately he still has a possibility of finding a home in Detroit, although I’d strongly disagree with the Lions if they chose to go that route. Projected Round: Mid to late first