The combine is complete and prospects have began to separate themselves from the pack. Some players have shown that they are as good as their game film advertised, while other prospect’s draft stock is rising and falling. Let’s take a look at who’s stock has gone up.
Tavon Austin, WR/RB/Return Specialist, West Virginia-Austin is one of the best players you can find on tape and when he ran a 4.25 and a 4.34 in the forty yard dash, he solidified himself as one of the fastest players coming out of college football. Add the fact that the Lions are in desperate need of another deep threat opposite to Calvin Johnson and the Lions have to seriously be thinking about trading back into the first round to acquire Austin in the mid to late first round. Let’s not forget how poor the Lions return game was last season and how much the team missed Jahvid Best’s electric speed. Austin could fill three huge needs for the Lions with one pick. With that said, I think the Lions could justify moving back into the first round to acquire Austin’s services.
Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama-perhaps no one made a name for themselves more than Milliner this week proving that he is an elite athlete running both of his forties in the 4.3 range (4.31 and 4.38). Milliner is an outstanding cover defender and has great size who’s even been compaired to Darelle Revis. I wasn’t too high on Milliner until I saw him run the 40. After that performance I would have no problem with the Lions selecting Milliner with their first pick, however I still that cornerback isn’t enough of a need when you look at the Lions’ issues at defensive end
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU- After a lackluster performance at the Senior bowl Hunt wowed scouts with his 38 reps on the bench press, 4.6 forty time, and a 34.5 vertical jump. He’s got outstanding size at 6’8, 275 lbs and is expected to be an immediate impact player for the five technique in a 3-4 defense. So the question here is can he play in a 4-3 defensive scheme and still dominate? That’s a question the Lions will have to answer when deciding if they want to use a second round pick on him.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU- What’s not to love about Ansah? He’s 6’5, 271 pounds, runs a 4.63 forty paired with exceptional lateral quickness, loose hips, and a 34.5 vertical jump. Ansah and Hunt are the most athletic defensive ends, but like Hunt there are serious questions about the lack of football experience and film that’s available. After watching Ansah in the Senior Bowl and the combine I’m a believer. I can see him dominating as a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL in the future, the question will be when will that day come? The Lions are drafting in the top five and need impact players now. The Lions will have to decide if what they have seen on Ansah is enough to warrant a top five pick, because he likely won’t make it past the first 20 picks at this rate.
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff- at 6’5 306 lbs, Armstead clocked in the fastest forty times ever running a 4.65 and 4.71 and displayed excellent movement skills during drills. A lot of experts are predicting the Lions to take a serious look at Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher with the number five pick, but after seeing Milliner’s elite athleticism I think the Lions will have a hard time passing him up. With that said, if Armstead is around in the second or third round the Lions could desperately use his services at right tackle or guard, depending on how things shape up in free agency. Mostly everyone is intrigued with Armstead, the question with him is whether or not he can go up against elite pass rushers on a weekly basis after playing at a smaller school.
Pro days are just around the corner so this list is likely to change. With a solid showing in the 40 from Kenny Vaccaro should see his stock jump, while other prospects for the Lions like Damontre Moore and Manti Te’o are out to prove that they are much better athletes than they showed at the combine.