The Detroit Lions NFL Draft Watch List gives you college football players to watch each week who could be on the Lions’ radar next spring.
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Virginia vs. Brigham Young (#21)
3:30 p.m. EST – ESPN
Anthony Harris (#8), SS – Virginia The draft is a long way off, but one thing is for sure – the safety position will be under the microscope. The secondary is a M.A.S.H. unit, and at age 30, the Detroit Lions know James Ihedigbo isn’t the long term solution at strong safety. Enter All-American strong safety candidate Anthony Harris, who is on nearly every major college hardware watch list.
Harris is entering his third season as a starter, having notched two 80 plus tackle seasons in 2012 and 2013. At 6-1, 190 lbs., Harris has the size to bang in the box and match up in two tight end formations. More importantly, his outstanding ball skills (he led the nation in interceptions last year) would bring much needed big play ability to a secondary that has been void of creating turnovers.
Eli Harold (#7), DE – Virginia If it seems like we highlight defensive ends often in this segment it’s because we do. Mayhew has shown that he is continually looking to add talent to the defensive line and junior Eli Harold is one of the best you haven’t heard about yet. In 2013, his first full season as starter, Harold’s eight and a half sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 51 tackles, likely opened the eyes of NFL scouts.
With three sacks in only three games this season, Harold has picked up right where he left off. A bit slight at 6-4, 250 lbs., Harold will need to continue to add size to hold up as an every down 4-3 DE at the next level. However, Harold has the rare athletic attributes necessary to consistently beat offensive tackles off the snap and create havoc in the backfield.
Alani Fua (#5), LB – BYU Is there a possibility the Lions could choose a BYU defender for a third straight season in the draft? Potentially, but it’s unlikely. However, Fua is certainly worth a look as someone to help bolster depth at linebacker. An active defender in the mold of Ansah and Van Noy, Fua kept jumping out on film last season when I was watching BYU game tape.
His stats from 2013 back it up: 63 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and five tackles for loss. At 6-5, 234 lbs., Fua has excellent size, with his height helping to neutralize the mismatches offensive coordinators are game-planning around with today’s athletic tight ends. And, as with Ansah and Van Noy, Fua’s motor always runs hot, allowing him to make plays all over the field.