Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Watch List: Bowl Edition


Dec 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) scores on an interception return against San Diego State Aztecs in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. BYU defeated San Diego State 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Watch List gives you college football players to watch who could be on the Lions’ radar next spring.

The college bowl season continues with three games today:

Military Bowl: Marshall vs. Maryland – 2:30 p.m. – ESPN

Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse – 6:00 p.m. – ESPN

Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU vs. Washington – 9:30 p.m. – ESPN

The BYU/Washington matchup will catch the eye of most NFL teams. Of particular interest to the Lions will be three prospects, including two we’ve highlighted previously at SideLion Report:

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 also possesses outstanding pass rush skills when working off the edge and 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.

Van Noy finished the year with 60 tackles, four sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss and will likely be an early second day prospect, though he has late first round value.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (#88), TE – Washington

The Lions may be in the market for a tight end next spring and legal issues aside, Seferian-Jenkins is one of the best in the nation. Suspended for the first game of the season following a DUI conviction in March, Seferian-Jenkins is a junior, but already holds the school records for career catches (110), receiving yards (1,390) and touchdowns (13) by a tight end after just two collegiate seasons. At 6-6, 276 lbs., he has outstanding measureables and continues the trend of athletic basketball/football tight ends who present match-up nightmares for defensive coordinators by being too fast for linebackers and too big for safeties to cover. Seferian-Jenkins has outstanding hands and the speed to get deep down the seam.

Seferian-Jenkins did not have the year many expected, finishing with less than half his 2012 receiving yard total (413) and seven touchdowns. Still, players with Seferian-Jenkins’ size and athletic ability do not last long on draft day, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drafted at the bottom of the first round.

Finally, one other later round prospect to keep an eye on is BYU receiver Cody Hoffman:

Cody Hoffman (#2), WR – BYU

Senior Cody Hoffman became BYU’s all-time reception leader, all-time receiving touchdown leader, and all-time receiving yards leader this season, while earning first team All-Independent honors for the third consecutive year. The productive Hoffman combines excellent size (6-4, 210 lbs.) with outstanding hands to produce a wide catch radius, making him a threat in the red zone. While he lacks the explosiveness and elite speed to stretch the field vertically, Hoffman is effective versus press and uses his large frame well to shield defenders when in traffic. Tough, competitive and consistent, Hoffman would be a solid third day pick for a team in need of reliable targets.