The Detroit Lions are pushing toward the start of the NFL Draft in a few weeks, and naturally, everyone is beginning to reveal their final mocks as well as ideal first picks for the team.
Lost in that shuffle of that could be the players a bit further down the board. There are plenty of players who could become steals later on in this deep draft, and the Lions could score by nabbing any of them in the weeks ahead for their neediest spots on the roster.
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What players could end up being the biggest steals of this draft process when all is said and done? Here’s a look at some names at some major spots of need for Detroit that could outplay the position where they are eventually drafted this spring.
Chazz Surratt, Linebacker, North Carolina
Think about some of the top prospects in the NFL Draft at linebacker and you typically think of names like Micah Parsons, Nick Bolton or Jamin Davis. All of those players are solid and figure to be talented, but a potential value could be flying under the radar in the form of Surratt, the linebacker from North Carolina. Surratt is a pure athlete that has great mobility given his days as a former quarterback. He can be a solid pursuit player for the Lions and someone that a confident defensive staff can mold into one of the next greats at the position. Some of Surratt’s skills are not teachable, which lends to the notion that he could become a great linebacker with time and honing.
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Cornell Powell, Wide Receiver, Clemson
Clemson’s top pass catcher was the best player on the field for the Tigers in their CFP playoff game. putting up 139 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Ohio State Buckeyes and looking like a matchup problem all night long. Depending on how the wideout board shakes out, Powell could be a name the Lions look at to fill the need they will have at pass catcher. With speed and size, Powell looked the part of a potential NFL star in the game and the Lions had to be interested considering they could need all the help they could get at wideout in the coming draft. He had a stronger 2020 season than career, but the good news is he could be peaking. Landing him later in the draft while filling other needs earlier could be ideal.
Walker Little, Offensive Tackle, Stanford Cardinal
There’s been plenty of hand-wringing about whether or not the Lions should be in position to select one of the top offensive tackles early in either Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater. If the Lions manage to avoid picking one of those players or are not in position to, the team could still score with Little later on in the draft. He’s got size and the natural fit having played in a pro scheme already, which means he could translate well. Little could come off the board faster than most people anticipate, but if the Lions grabbed him around the third or fourth round, they could help out their line arguably as much as if they scored a top prospect.
Dayo Odeyingbo, Edge, Vanderbilt
The Lions have managed to do some work on their defensive line in free agency, but the need still does exist for an edge presence as well as a player who could potentially work in at linebacker as well. Odeyingbo is that type of player, and in terms of someone who could be a valuable project with starter potential, this would be an interesting pick for the Lions. Odeyingbo has enough talent to make his own way in the league and could have potential at either linebacker or up front. Such scheme versatility could be huge for a Lions defense that will be starting over with a new approach this season.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Cornerback, Syracuse
If the last name sounds familiar, that’s because Ifeatu’s brother Obi Melifonwu played in the NFL recently as well. The older Melifonwu didn’t have success, but that doesn’t mean the younger one can’t be great. Melifonwu has solid size at 6-3 and is the type of player who can be a better cornerback than some of the options that may go higher than him in the NFL Draft. Melifowu might end up being one of the better cornerbacks that comes out of this draft process, and the Lions would be smart to watch him given their major needs at cornerback.
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