The Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Watch List gives you college football players to watch each Saturday who could be on the Lions’ radar next spring.
BYU vs. Wisconsin (#21)
3:30 p.m. – ESPN
Kyle Van Noy (#3), OLB – BYU
Kyle Van Noy was one of my favorite prospects heading into the season. In the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, Van Noy turned in one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen by a defensive player where he recorded eight tackles, one and a half sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery (for a touchdown), one interception (for a touchdown) and a blocked punt. His 2012 statistics for the season were also noteworthy: 53 tackles, 22 tackles-for-loss, 13 sacks, two interceptions, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, eight quarterback hurries, five pass break-ups and two blocked kicks. Van Noy is one of those players who just stands out when you watch a BYU game. He has excellent read and react skills and his natural instincts always put him in position to make a play. He has outstanding pass rush skills when working off the edge, but is fluid enough in his change of direction to make plays in coverage. The addition of Van Noy would provide the defense with a three-down backer who is capable of making big plays.
Jared Abbrederis (#4), WR – Wisconsin
A former walk-on who started his college career as a QB on the scout team, you can’t help but root for a prospect like Abbrederis. Through hard work and smarts, Abbrederis has managed to rise from former walk-on to entering his senior season with a productive 2059 career receiving yards and 16 career touchdowns on his resume. He’s also an effective special teamer, with an 11.2 punt return average. Through eight games this season, he has 46 receptions for 782 yards and six touchdowns. Though he lacks elite speed, he has enough quickness to get behind the secondary (as evidenced by his career average 16.6 yards per reception). Abbrederis uses quick footwork and crisp routes to create separation working underneath routes and has very reliable hands. For a team that will likely be on the lookout for receiving depth (again), Abbrederis provides a nice later round option.
Chris Borland (#44), MLB – Wisconsin
Though he lacks prototypical size (5-11, 246) and athleticism, Borland has had an ultra-productive career at Wisconsin. To date, Borland has 365 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and three interceptions. He’s instinctive, keys and diagnoses quickly and is never out of position. Though he lacks true sideline-to-sideline range, you can’t rule out a high-effort player like Borland, whose motor always runs hot. Borland has the potential to be a valuable special teams player and solid back-up whose intensity will make it very difficult for coaches to keep him off the field.