Detroit Lions 2015 NFL Draft Watch List: East-West Shrine Game


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 this spring, with a particular focus on positions of need. Saturday, January 17th brings college football fans the East-West Shrine Game. The East-West Shrine Game is the longest running college all-star game in the country. Although it does not attract the top talent of next week’s Senior Bowl, there is plenty of NFL caliber talent in the East-West game.

East-West Shrine Game – 4:00 p.m. (EST) – NFL Network 

Here are five prospects who I have been following over the 2014 season to look for in this year’s game:

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Detrick Bonner, S – Virginia Tech (#28 EAST)

The senior free safety for the Hokies put up impressive stats for the 2014 season, rounding out the year with 71 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, and one interception. Part of Bonner’s appeal to a defensive coordinator will be his versatility – he’s lined up at corner, whip linebacker, and safety over his collegiate career.

Though a bit slight at 6-0, 194 lbs. his ability to bring corner-type coverage skills to the safety position makes him a desirable commodity in today’s pass-heavy NFL.

Za’Darius Smith, DE – Kentucky (#94 EAST)

Playing opposite the more heralded defensive end prospect Alvin Dupree, Smith was a junior college transfer who got his first taste of SEC play in 2013.  The East Mississippi Community College product acclimated quickly, finishing his senior season for the Wildcats with 61 tackles, seven and a half tackles for loss, four and half sacks and two pass breakups.

The 6-6, 263 lb. edge rusher utilizes his prototypical length and quick first step to consistently create pressure in the backfield. With UK switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base this season, Smith’s ability to adapt quickly and be productive in the new alignment adds to his marketability. Some team could end up finding a steal in Smith as his best football may still be ahead of him.

John Miller, OG  Louisville (#70 EAST)

Offensive Guard, John Miller has been impressive over his collegiate career, having played both right and left guard during his tenure at Louisville. Miller was named All-ACC honorable mention this season and All-American Athletic Conference second team last season.

With a solid frame (6-2, 312 lb.) and powerful base, Miller consistently creates movement off the line of scrimmage as an-inline blocker. In addition, Miller also showcases the quick feet and balance to make him a dependable pass protector.  A well-rounded prospect, Miller could infuse much-needed depth into the Lions’ interior.

Jamon Brown, OT  Louisville (#79 EAST)

Another Cardinal offensive line prospect, Brown is difficult to miss, boasting outstanding size at 6-6, 326 lbs. Brown has taken a circuitous route to the left tackle position, beginning his collegiate career as a defensive tackle before switching to right tackle in 2012.  His experience on the defensive line has proven to be a plus as he plays the position with an aggressive temperament desirable to NFL scouts.

Brown has the elite size needed to play tackle, though teams will need to evaluate whether or not he’s limited to the right side, which will ultimately affect his draft status.

Tyeler Davison, DT – Fresno State (#92 WEST)

A defensive lineman for the Bulldogs, tackle Tyeler Davison has been turning heads in the Mountain West for quite some time. During the 2014 season, he recorded 60 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, seven and half sacks and one forced fumble. A versatile defender with good size (6-2, 309 lbs.), Davison has experience lining up at both the nose and the three-technique.

Stout at the point of attack, Davison can tie-up double teams with powerful hands to shed and play the inside run.  Perhaps most intriguing is his growth as a pass rusher, where he has flashed the quickness to get after the quarterback.  Davison is rumored to be working with Keith Millard to hone his skills, which is testament to his desire to succeed at the position.

Next: Lions Seven Round Mock Draft

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