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.
Ohio State (#2) vs. Michigan State (#10)
8:17 p.m. – Fox
In week four, we highlighted Michigan State prospects Darqueze Dennard (#31), Isaiah Lewis (#9), Max Bullough (#40) and Denicos Allen (#28). In this week’s primetime matchup, here are three Ohio State prospects to keep an eye on:
Ryan Shazier (#2), WLB – Ohio State
The ultra-productive junior defender ranked among the Big Ten’s Top 10 in five different defensive stat categories in 2012, with 17 tackles-for-loss, 115 total tackles (second in the league), five sacks and 12 passes defended. Shazier improved on those gaudy stats this season with 123 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, seven sacks and four forced fumbles through 12 games. At 6-2, 226 lbs., Shazier lacks take-on size and can be overpowered by offensive linemen versus the run. However what he lacks in size, he makes up for in effort with sideline-to-sideline range and the play speed to chase down ball carriers in backside pursuit. Shazier also flashes ability in coverage, with fluid hips and quick feet to play man-to-man on backs and tight ends. A three-down backer who can make plays all over the field and rush the passer effectively on blitz packages, the Lions defense could use a player with Shazier’s skill set.
Bradley Roby (#1), CB – Ohio State
A three year starter, Roby was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 2012 when he was among the nation’s leaders in passes defended with 19 and again ranks among the top ten this season with 16. Roby has outstanding speed (4.39) with the burst and fluidity to stay in tight coverage all over the field. He’s physical at the line of scrimmage and does a good job of staying on a receiver’s hip pocket, making it tough for them to create separation. Though he lacks prototypical size (5-11, 193 lbs.) and struggles to win jump balls downfield versus bigger receivers, Roby has the quick-twitch athleticism to be a productive slot receiver at the next level.
C.J. Barnett (#4), SS – Ohio State
A three year starter with over 200 career tackles, Barnett is a heady defender who is able to overcome his lack of elite athletic characteristics with the natural instincts to consistently put himself in a position to make plays. Possessing good size (6-0, 205 lbs.), Barnett is aggressive in run support and a productive tackler inside the box. In coverage, he has enough range to get to the sideline from two-deep, but is a bit stiff in man coverage and lacks the fluidity to cover quicker slot receivers or turn and run with vertical threats downfield. Barnett would be an ideal mid-to-late day pick, who has the size and instincts to be a solid backup and good special teams player.