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.
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Washington vs Arizona (#14)
3:30 p.m. EST – FOX
Danny Shelton (#55), DT – Washington
The 6-2, 339 lb. defensive tackle for the Huskies is a lineman unlike many others. His size alone forces opponents to run two blockers against him. A Bednarik Award semi-finalist, the senior tackle has seven and a half sacks, 73 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and three QB hurries through 10 games.
While he lacks the speed and athleticism to make highlight-reel worthy defensive plays, Shelton consistently stops the run and even manages to make his way through the o-line to the QB on a fairly regular basis. Shelton plays with extreme awareness, shedding blockers at the most opportune time to make key plays. Named to the Pac 12’s All Academic First team the last two years in a row, Shelton’s imposing frame and intelligence on and off the field will catch the eye of many teams in the league.
Hau’oli Kikaha (#8), OLB – Washington
Kikaha, a senior linebacker for Washington, has been turning heads this season. He currently leads the nation in sacks (16.5) and tackles for loss (22.5). ESPN’s Mel Kiper named him the Midseason National Defensive Player of the Year. He is also a semifinalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi, and Butkus Awards and the Lott Trophy.
The 6-3, 243 lb. pass rusher has 57 tackles, two forced fumbles, and two passes defended on top of his other nation-leading stats through 10 games this season. Kikaha has transitioned well with this being his first season as a stand up linebacker, having previously lined up full-time with his hand on the ground. Known for his strength and constant effort playing through the whistle, the only question for team’s at the next level will be his health. Having gone through two ACL injuries over his college career, his potential durability in the NFL might make this otherwise first-rounder drop to day two.
Tra’Mayne Bondurant (#21), FS – Arizona
Despite having a rough start to the season, senior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant has regained the confidence and trust of his coaches and teammates. He briefly quit the team due to family issues over the summer. Because of this, he had to work his way back up to starting for the Wildcats again – something he didn’t achieve until late September against Cal.
So far this season, the 5-10, 216 lb. safety has one interception, one fumble returned for a touchdown, 33 tackles, two and half tackles for loss, and three passes broken up. A versatile defender, having previously played in Arizona’s “spur” safety role for two seasons as part of their 3-3-5 defense, he has a lot of upside at the next level.