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Friday, January 28, 2011
DraftWatch2011: A LB match for Lions?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

As promised, it's time to take a look at some potential Senior Bowl draft targets for the Detroit Lions. To be clear, all we can do at this point is match up the positions the Lions need help at with the reports we're getting out of Mobile, Ala.

Toward that end, outside linebacker is a position of need for the Lions and ESPN's Todd McShay has been raving about Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller all week. Miller has also got some work at defensive end, but at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, McShay writes: "He's looking like a perfect fit for a strongside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme."

Another snippet of McShay's report: "It's very clear Miller has the athleticism, speed and raw, natural football instincts to not only become adequate in coverage, but to make it a strength of his game, which already includes man-to-man coverage ability."

It doesn't sound like Miller will rise into the conversation for the Lions' first-round pick, No. 13 overall, but he is certainly a player who improved his stock this week.

On the other hand, our Scouts Inc. partners aren't that enamored with another position of need for the Lions this week. McShay wrote he didn't see a cornerback who would be worth of a first- or second-round draft pick.
McShay: One position group that really failed to make a mark this week was the defensive backs. Where were they? In recent years, we've seen standout performances from players like Chris Cook, Devin McCourty and Alphonso Smith, but this year has seen a very average group. There are no safeties like Taylor Mays, who wowed you with his size, speed and freakish natural athleticism. And looking at the cornerbacks, we don't know whether we saw anyone who will go in the first two rounds. No one rose to the top of the class and took advantage of the opportunity.

I always look at the Senior Bowl as an appetizer. Along with the East-West shrine game, it's the first step in a long process of matching college players with NFL teams. But it sure gets our juices flowing.