The Detroit Lions 2015 NFL Draft Watch List gives you college football players to watch each week who could be on the Detroit Lions’ radar next spring, with a particular focus on positions of need.
Florida State (#2) vs. Louisville (#25)
Thursday 10/30 – 7:30 pm EST – ESPN
P.J. Williams (#26), CB – Florida State
Williams, a junior corner for the Seminoles, has been impressive to watch develop. The 6-0, 198 lb. ball hawk was awarded Defensive MVP during the National Championship game against Auburn last season. Widely seen as one of the most consistent defensive backs in college football, Williams has 25 tackles, one interception, one tackle for loss, six passes broken up, and one forced fumble through six games in 2014.
A Bronko Nagurski Award, Bednarik Award, Jim Thorpe Award, and All-America Award Candidate for 2014, Williams is a big-play maker with the speed and physical play teams at the next level look for in that position.
Ronald Darby (#3), CB – Florida State
Having been named the 2012 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, expectations for Darby have been set high ever since his freshman year, and so far he hasn’t disappointed. Darby has not allowed a touchdown since Florida State’s 2012 matchup against Maryland – no receiver has scored on him in 25 games.
A track star, Darby has the speed and athleticism to beat receivers on every play, making him a defender the opposing team’s offense wants to avoid altogether. Through seven games this season he has 21 tackles, one tackle for loss, two passes broken up and one forced fumble.
Lorenzo Mauldin (#94), OLB – Louisville
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Lorenzo Mauldin, the 6-4, 252 lb. former defensive end who switched positions to linebacker when Louisville went to a 3-4 offense this season, has been turning heads in the ACC. Just two weeks ago, CBS Sports’ Jerry Hinnen included him in his top five rankings for the Heisman Trophy.
Last season, the pass rusher was ranked #19 nationally in sacks, having accumulated nine and a half for 2013. In Louisville’s first eight games of this season, Mauldin has 35 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two passes broken up, seven QB hurries, and one forced fumble. If he stays on his current track, he will most likely surpass his sack record from last year.
Charles Gaines (#3), CB – Louisville
The redshirt junior cornerback from Louisville had an impressive 2013 season. The previous season he played as a wide receiver, but then was switched to corner where he started 10 games, tallied five interceptions and had three return touchdowns.
With eight games under his belt this season, he has 14 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, eight passes broken up, and one forced fumble.