Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) pressures Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (5) during the second half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-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.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma – 8:30 p.m. – ESPN
Here are four prospects to watch in tonight’s match-up:
C.J. Mosley (#32), WLB – Alabama
At 6-2, 232 lbs., Mosley may lack ideal size, but it is difficult to find many negatives with the 2013 Butkus Award winner. Mosley’s numbers were down a bit from his breakout 2012 season, however he topped 100 tackles again (102), adding nine tackles for loss and five passes broken up. Mosley has an extremely high football IQ, with the ability to key and diagnose extremely quickly to put himself around the football. With sideline-to sideline-range, the fluidity to play man coverage, great instincts and a high motor, Mosley has all the characteristics of a first round caliber prospect. The only area of concern is durability, as he has suffered various injuries over the course of his college career that have caused him to miss games.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (#6), SS – Alabama
A junior, Clinton-Dix not only has the size to shut down the run when playing inside the box – he also possesses excellent ball skills, tying for the SEC lead with five interceptions last season. For a bigger safety (6-1, 208 lbs.), Clinton-Dix is fluid in his change of direction and has enough speed to play man coverage on tight ends. He showcases good awareness in coverage with the instincts to put himself around the football and the hands to make the interception. Clinton-Dix was suspended for two games this season for accepting impermissible benefits from a member of the Alabama coaching staff who was subsequently fired, though all indications are that he does not have major character concerns. Should he decide to leave school, Clinton-Dix will likely be a late first/early second round choice.
Gabe Ikard (#64), C – Oklahoma
Dominic Raiola is in his 13th season and the final year of a four-year contract. Though he played what may be the best season of his career, the Lions still need to start looking for a younger replacement in the draft or free agency. One such possibility is Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard, who has started 49 games along the offensive line for the Sooners, 18 at left guard and 31 at center. Despite lacking ideal size (6-3, 298 lbs.), Ikard was named All-Big 12 First Team in 2012 and 2013 by Coaches and AP and is a highly intelligent player both on and off the field, receiving his degree in May of 2013 with a 4.0 GPA. Ikard sets up quickly off the snap and utilizes sound angles and leverage to neutralize bigger defensive linemen. He’s light on his feet, moves to the second level quickly and looks natural in space. Most importantly, Ikard showcases the competitive attitude so necessary for an offensive lineman to be successful at the next level. However, he will need time in an NFL strength program to add the necessary bulk and strength to anchor versus defensive linemen at the next level. Ikard is expected to be a day three selection.
Aaron Colvin (#14), CB – Oklahoma
A versatile defender, Colvin started every game at strong safety in 2011, leading the team with 84 tackles before moving to cornerback for his junior season in 2012. After 13 starts at cornerback in 2012, Colvin was awarded All-Big 12 First Team honors, finishing with 61 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions. He again received All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2013 and was a Thorpe Award semifinalist, finishing the season with 49 tackles, five tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. With good size (6-0, 192 lbs.), Colvin uses his length to make contact at the LOS, which helps to neutralize his lack of top flight play speed when asked to turn and run. He also does a good job of reading the QB’s eyes to get a jump on the route, exhibits solid ball skills and the ability to attack the football at its highest point. Perhaps his best attribute is his physicality – Colvin shows a willingness to come up quickly in run support, and is a sound tackler. Because he lacks elite fluidity and long speed to stay with vertical threats, his best fit at the next level may be at safety. A team captain with natural leadership skills and the willingness to play through pain, Colvin would be a solid day two selection.