Over the coming weeks, the Detroit Lions will be meeting with a multitude of draft prospects leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft. Below is a look at which prospects have met with the Lions since the East – West Shrine Game. Going forward, we’ll continue to track who met with the Lions at the combine, at the Senior Bowl, at pro days, at private workouts and who have received invitations to Detroit and Allen Park.
With the Lions piling up official draft visits, plus local and private workouts, we are beginning to get a little clearer picture of what their plan may be heading into April 28. So far, about 60% of the players on this list are on the defensive side of the ball all across the field. The Lions are digging into safety prospects across the board and this tells me they’re not quite happy with what they have at that spot right now despite having some depth and competition. Regarding corners, most of the work they have done is on mid to later round prospects and I do not expect them to be taking one early on unless a premier talent falls to the 2nd round. There are quite a few special teams caliber linebackers on the list and I expect them to take one in the mid-to-late rounds as well.
On the defensive line, they have dug heavily into defensive tackles graded in the first and second round. What I might take from this is that they may be expecting at least one to fall into their lap with the 46th pick overall and want to make sure there are no red flags being the cause of that. That’s just a guess, however. They have tabbed a couple of early defensive end types in Shaq Lawson and Jonathan Bullard, and Emmanuel Ogbah and it seems plausible they could be targeting that spot in the first round if not offensive tackle.
Speaking of offense, the list has a notable lack of early to mid round wide receivers. They have looked into Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman and I could see them selecting either in the 2nd round if they fall to that spot. The majority of the rest of the receivers on this list have been projected to go in the 4th round or later. This is a sign to me that all the pundits mocking wide receivers to the Lions early just because Calvin has retired are not practicing due diligence.
The running backs on this list share the same logic minus any early round types. It’s worth noting that Darius Jackson, a super athlete as measured by his pro day, has or had an official visit to Detroit so they could be targeting him in the mid rounds to develop as a primary back.
Most of the names on this list on offense are along the offensive line with the team having looked into several offensive tackles projected to go in the early to mid rounds. One note about the center spot is that Cody Whitehair, Nick Martin, nor Ryan Kelly are on this list. These are a few of the top prospects at the center position. Maybe the team is already set on its grades for those guys, but as one who personally hopes for one of the best centers to be drafted by the Lions that is a bit of a red flag for me.
Finally, it’s no secret the Lions are looking at a developmental quarterback. Expect one to be taken in the 5th or later with possibly an additional one being added as an undrafted free agent. There is also only one tight end on the list in Austin Hooper of Stanford.
The latest tracker as of April 16, 2016 is shown below.
Data source: walterfootball.com