Friday, May 9, 2014
Potential Lions picks on Day 2 of NFL draft
By Michael Rothstein
There is frustration out there now, confusion amongst at least part of the Detroit Lions' fan base as to what the team did Thursday night.
The Lions avoided defense and drafted a tight end (Eric Ebron) who is essentially a receiver. Though it might work out, the Lions play in the NFC North, so they still have to find enough good players to defend the best running back (Adrian Peterson), one of the top quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers) and one of the best receiving tandems (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery) in the NFL.
If there was a question about whether defense was a priority in the division, Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota all chose defensive players.
This, though, is something the Lions can begin to remedy on Day 2 of the NFL draft, which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday with the second and third rounds. Here are 10 players to pay attention to as we assemble a second-day board.
1.CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska: He is the best cornerback left on the ESPN.com board and the No. 40 player overall. He has the size the Lions covet in their secondary -- listed at 6-foot-2 5/8 -- and has major potential. Not as polished as some of the first-round cornerbacks, but his size and speed could end up making him one of the top cornerbacks in this class after converting from wide receiver midway through his college career. Had 50 career tackles and seven career interceptions.
2.LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU: He’s the third-highest outside linebacker left on the ESPN.com board, behind Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu and Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence. He can play against the run or the pass and should be able to stay on the field for three downs. He played in 52 games, had 226 tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 26 sacks and seven interceptions.
3.LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech: He is the highest-rated outside linebacker left on the ESPN.com board and the No. 30 player overall. Has good size at 6-foot-3 1/4. Doesn’t have fantastic instincts -- Van Noy is probably better there -- but is a good player who could make a difference immediately. Georgia Tech’s career sack leader with 31.5. Had 134 career tackles.
4.DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State: Doesn’t have ideal size but is very, very good against the run. Wouldn’t be pressured to start right away, but could become a rotational player with Nick Fairley immediately and eventually take over there. Had 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season for the Seminoles.
5.DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame: Personally love his game. Has the size where he could play left defensive end for the Lions in a 4-3 or get rolled inside to project as a tackle at some point. Had 19 career sacks and 127 career tackles. Really good pass-rusher who can also defend the run.
6.CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood: Did not face elite talent but has the size Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin wants at 6-foot-1. Could end up as somewhat of a project at cornerback, but was named the country’s top “small school” defensive back last season.
7.CB Keith McGill, Utah: We've talked a lot about size with cornerbacks and McGill is the tallest cornerback in the draft. The No. 9 cornerback on the ESPN.com board, he grades out with above average cover skills and run support. Does not have great hands, though.
8.WR Cody Latimer, Indiana/Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: I’m cheating here with two players, but these would be the two wide receivers I’d covet in the second round if the Lions just decide to go all-in on offense and roll with the defense they have. Both have extremely good size and could give the Lions a front line of every pass catcher other than Golden Tate being at least 6-foot-2. That said, if the Lions went offense in the second round, too, there would be some issues.
9.DT Kony Ealy, Missouri: Is good against the run and the pass, and easily could have been a first-round target. Can theoretically play both inside and outside, much like Tuitt. Had 53 career tackles, 27.5 of them for loss and 14 of them sacks.
10.CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson: A little bit under the preferred 6-foot mark, but is a physical player who can become a starter. Physical. Had 159 tackles and six interceptions in his career.
Other players to watch: S Terrence Brooks, Florida State; S Brock Vereen, Minnesota; DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota; DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame; CB Phillip Gaines, Rice; DB Jaylen Watkins, Florida; LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin; LB Trent Murphy, Stanford; C Marcus Martin, USC; C Weston Richburg, Colorado State; QB Aaron Murray, Georgia; QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU.