The collegiate pro day season is winding down, and the Detroit Lions have dispatched various scouts and coaches all over the nation in search of potential Lions.
The latest stop came Tuesday in Tallahassee, where Florida State held its pro day. Per a conversation with Mike Kaye of First Coast News, Lions linebacker coach Bill Sheridan ran the LB drills. He had two viable candidates to work with in Reggie Northrup and Terrance Smith.
Northrup led the Seminoles in tackles in both 2014 and ’15. What makes that fact even more impressive is he tore his ACL in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon after the ’14 season. His quick recovery is a nice bonus for a player who is on the smaller side at 6’1” and played at about 225 pounds. Despite his lighter weight, he’s a downhill thumper of an inside backer in the NFL. He does have some range and coverage ability, having played outside for the Noles. Northrup projects as a late-round pick or an undrafted free agent.
Smith is a player I saw in person during Shrine Game practices. Another lighter backer at a playing weight of 230, Smith looks more like a very tall safety at 6’4”. He moves like a tall, slow-ish safety too. With a 40-yard dash time of 4.69 and decent showings in the broad jump and agility drills, he might have an NFL future as a nickel backer with an emphasis on pass coverage. Smith fared quite well in coverage drills in practice sessions. He also has played all the LB spots and on special teams.
Some other players of interest:
Jalen Ramsey is the headliner and the All-American defensive back will be long gone by the time the Lions pick at No. 16. He might be the best overall player in this draft.
Defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample is another player I saw during the Shrine Game week. He’s an immovable object type of interior line anchor. Lawrence-Stample won’t make many plays, either in the backfield or on the line, but he can two-gap and plays a smart, physical game. He’s a sixth or seventh-round talent. The Lions did meet with the Ft. Lauderdale native in St. Pete in January.
With the First Pick
Kicker Roberto Aguayo is the rare specialist who could be drafted as high as the third round. He’s one of the best kicking prospects this century with his record-setting accuracy to 55 yards on field goals and pinpoint control on kickoffs should make Aguayo an upper-echelon NFL kicker. The Lions seem set with Matt Prater, but if Aguayo is still on the board in the fourth round it wouldn’t surprise me if GM Bob Quinn gave him strong consideration.
Safety Lamarcus Brutus has the size and hits like a truck of bricks, but he often shows the agility and reaction speed of said truck. Think of former Lions safety Ricardo Silva.