Of course, all the fun speculation on the NFL Draft is around who the Lions will take with their first pick. I cannot improve on Anthony’s excellent overview of Detroit’s first round options, so I will take a stab at the second round.
The Lions have been known to trade up and down a lot with their second round pick, so there is a decent chance that they will not be picking there. But, for argument’s sake, let us assume that they are on the clock with the 44th pick. Who might be there? Who might they take?
Before we speculate, two other assumptions must be made. First, that the collective bargaining stalemate continues through April, therefore denying teams the chance to fill gaps via free agency. Second, that the Lions used their first round pick on an offensive tackle. Although Lions beat reporter Tom Kowalski thinks they will choose an OT even if Prince Amukamara is available, I agree with Anthony that if Prince is there at 13, the Lions will take him. However, I think Amukamara will be long gone by then, so Tyron Smith will likely be the choice.
With all those completely unscientific assumptions out of the way, here are some of the possibilities for the Lions in Round 2:
Aaron Williams, CB Texas
Although this collegiate program has produced some high quality cornerbacks in recent years, Williams’ career has been spotty enough that he might fall to the Lions here. He has good speed, excellent quickness and agility and possesses skills that should translate well to the NFL. His tackling is also good enough to make teams take notice. On the negative side, he takes a lot of chances and when he guesses wrong bad things happen. He will remind Lions fans a lot of Dre’ Bly – both the good parts and the bad.
Bruce Carter, OLB North Carolina
Blessed with fantastic speed and strength, Carter might have gone in the first round if not for his being slightly undersized for the position combined with a lengthy injury history (and he still could get snatched up before the 44th pick). Lions fans might be reminded of Ernie Sims in Carter’s tenacity and athleticism. Unfortunately, they will also be reminded of Sims by Carter’s average instincts and so-so tackling.
Ras-I Dowling, CB Virginia
Dowling has the size and speed to start at corner in the big leagues, and is known as a good student of the game as well. He is a decent tackler with average hands. He has suffered from injuries in the past, so his durability is suspect. Best case scenario is that he could evolve into a journeyman cornerback. At the very least he could make an impact on special teams.
Mikel Lashoure, RB Illinois
The Lions like this bruising power runner enough to have had him in for an individual visit recently. Lashoure’s size and tough running style could possibly be the “Thunder” to Javid Best’s “Lightning” and offer a scary 1-2 punch for the Leos. The knock on Lashoure stems from conditioning issues, his unfamiliarity with a pro-style offense and the fact that his combine workout was less than spectacular.
Randall Cobb, WR Kentucky
A converted quarterback, Cobb might be the elusive third wide receiver the Lions have been looking for. Explosive as a playmaker, Cobb’s speed and agility make him exciting in the open field. He could also back up Stefan Logan in the return game. He needs to work on his hands, as he will drop some balls. Has great natural feel for the game, but still a little raw as a receiver.
Johnny Patrick, CB Louisville
Patrick doesn’t have pure speed (4.55 in the 40-yard dash), but his agility and burst make it seem like he does. A solid cover corner, some character concerns stemming from an arrest last year may make the Lions shy away from him. However, if he can assure Mayhew and Co. that he has cleaned up his act, he has plenty of upside. Patrick is a player who could fall to the third round, so even if the Lions like him, they could try to gamble and land him later.