The Detroit Lions 2015 NFL Draft Watch List gives you college football players to watch who could be on the Detroit Lions’ radar this spring, with a particular focus on positions of need.
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Senior Bowl – Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) – NFL Network
The Senior Bowl is the National Football League’s premier senior showcase event. It annually features the country’s best senior collegiate football players and top draft prospects on teams representing the North and South that are coached by two NFL teams. Every NFL franchise sends down a heavy contingent of personnel evaluators and coaches to primarily watch the practices leading up the game and conduct interviews.
Yesterday, we highlighted players from the North Team. The following are six players on the South Team who have caught my eye throughout the season:
1. La’el Collins (#60), OT – LSU
A two year starter at left tackle, Collins also has experience starting at left guard, where I feel his best fit will be at the next level. While light enough on his feet to hold up on the outside, Collins lacks elite quickness and could struggle re-directing versus counter moves from the better speed rushers in the league. However at 6-5, 321 lbs., Collins’ massive frame would allow him to anchor against powerful pro defensive tackles.
Further, his size and strength provide him with the ability to consistently drive defenders off the line of scrimmage and open run lanes. More than just brawn, Collins is a smart player who studies a lot of tape and consistently fights hard from snap to whistle, two necessary ingredients to excelling as an offensive lineman in the NFL. The mountain of a man from LSU could provide an upgrade along the interior or compete at right tackle.
2. Grady Jarrett (#95), DT – Clemson
With Suh’s contract negotiations on hold and a talented yet seemingly never motivated Nick Fairley, it’s no secret to Lions fans that the personnel department will be paying particular attention to defensive tackle prospects. One prospect who didn’t receive a lot of national attention but should this post-season, is Clemson’s Grady Jarrett.
Jarrett is on the light side at 6-1, 295 lbs., however his non-stop motor, strength and quickness have allowed him to be a productive play-maker in Clemson’s front four. For the 2014 season in 13 starts, Jarrett had 45 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, four quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles. With some prime time games on the schedule this past season, Jarrett was able to highlight his potential to be a difference maker up front.
3. Gabe Wright (#90), DT – Auburn
Would the Lions replace one disappointing defensive tackle from Auburn with another rookie from the same school? Time will tell. While Wright and Fairley may come from the same school, they’re entirely different players. Wright is not as explosive as Fairley, but his effort is more consistent on the field. A very good athlete in his own regard, Wright is explosive and showcases the ability to redirect very quickly, allowing him to consistently be disruptive in the backfield. A second day prospect, Wright has the potential to develop into a solid starter at the next level.
4. Trey Flowers (#86), DE – Arkansas
Flowers considered entering the 2014 draft, but was discouraged with his projection and decided to stay for his senior year. The prolific defensive end was named second-team All-SEC for the 2013 season with 44 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception, two pass breakups and five quarterback hurries. At 6-4. 270 lb., the Razorback edge rusher has prototypical size that teams covet at the next level.
Although he tallied 68 tackles, fifteen and a half tackles for loss, six sacks, nine QB hurries, and one forced fumble, he was surprisingly snubbed for All-SEC honors in 2014. While Flowers lacks elite initial quickness, his relentless effort, strength and instincts allow him to be an effective push-pull lineman who can collapse the pocket. A second day prospect who has the potential to outplay his draft status, Flowers would be a great addition to the Lions’ defense.
5. Owamagbe Odighizuwa (#54), DE – UCLA
Having missed the entire 2013 season because of two left hip surgeries, this pass rusher has exploded on the field in 2014. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a 6-3, 270 lb. right defensive end has proven he has the necessary skills set to be a disruptive force in opponent’s backfields. With 59 tackles, eleven and a half tackles for loss, and six sacks this past season, Odighizuwa had a productive senior season.
In terms of size and athletic ability, Odighizwuwa ranks near the top for defensive line prospects and I except his star to rise after the combine. However, his on-field production has yet to match his lofty five star recruit status, likely due to injuries. If he can put it all together and stay healthy, he will be one to watch come spring.
6. Cody Prewitt (#25), FS – Ole Miss
Prewitt finished his third season as a starter at free safety for the Rebels, and is recognized among the nation’s best at the position. With 64 tackles and a memorable 70-yard pick six in the match up against Texas A&M, his 2014 play earned him First Team All-America accolades. At 6-2, 217 lbs., Prewitt possesses prototypical height and weight for the position, while maintaining the necessary fluidity and change of direction to cover.
He has good enough speed to range from the hash in two-deep or maintain the last line of defense when playing single high. What’s most impressive about Prewitt, however, are his route recognition and ball skills, where he showcases nice timing and the hands to consistently bring in the interception.
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