The Lions only drafted one of the players that visited them in the 2012 offseason. With the 5th overall pick, and a draft that seems designed to frustrate draftniks, the Lions have kept their options wide open and have brought in a range of players for visits. They haven’t used up their 30 team visits yet, so I will be updating this page as it goes, but for now here are the players the Lions have brought in to visit, a brief description of how they could help the team, and where the player would still likely be available.
04/15/13 Update: Rashaan Melvin visits, Tight End Links
04/15/13 Update: Kyle Juszczyk, William Gholston, and LaAdrian Waddle
04/17/13 Update: Darius Slay, Jonathan Meeks, Latavius Murray, Steven Miller, and Vince Williams
Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee
6’4″ 196 lbs.
Hunter has some of the best measurables of the entire draft class and would provide a big, fast receiving threat opposite Megatron. Hands are poor, h0wever, had a 12.1 dropped pass percentage on 132 targets, which would have been good for 2nd worst in the NFL.
Available: Potentially available in the 2nd round, have seen him creep into the 1st round and fall as far as the 3rd.
Links: CBS WalterFootball Bleacher Report SB Nation eDraft 2012 Highlights Ultimate Highlights
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR Tennessee
6’2″ 217 lbs.
Considered by some to be the best receiver in this draft class, Patterson is a talented outside receiver with a fantastic combination of size and speed. Only dropped 4.2% of his targets in 2012.
Available: Lions could select him with their first pick if they wanted. Will only be available through the first round, don’t see him falling. Lions would need to trade up into the 1st round if they wanted him.
Links: CBS SB Nation Bleacher Report YardBarker SI 2012 Highlights Ultimate Highlights
Robert Woods, WR USC
6′ 201 lbs.
Woods is an inside/outside receiver with good hands (5% drops) and good route running ability. More quick than fast, Woods has some health concerns due to an ankle injury.
Available: Might still be available when the Lions pick in the 2nd round. I doubt he falls further than that.
Links: CBS NEPD WalterFootball Football Standard 2012 Highlights Career
Tavon Austin, WR West Virginia
Size is the only knock on Austin, who runs crisp routes at blazing speed and fantastic hands (Only dropped 2.6% of passes). His accelleration is ridiculous, change of direction is instant, and speed is elite. Exclusively a slot receiver.
Available: If the Lions don’t select him with their 5th overall selection, they won’t get him. Austin is likely to be the first off the board, battling with Patterson.
Links: CBS NEPD WalterFootball Bleacher Report SB Nation YardBarker eDraft 2012 Highlights Highlights
Michael Williams, TE Alabama
6’5″ 278 lbs.
I pinned Williams as one of my sleepers earlier this offseason and I stand by it. Click here for details. The fact the Lions have paid such close attention to TEs this offseason isn’t good news for some.
Available: When I wrote my sleeper article, Williams was projected to go undrafted. He has since gained some exposure and is considered a late 5th round pick by some teams. I could see the Lions picking him in the early 5th or with their comp pick in the 4th.
Links: CBS WalterFootball SB Nation NEPD vs. Mississippi State vs. Notre Dame
Dion Sims, TE Michigan State University
6’5″ 262 lbs.
Another player I’ve already went in depth with, Sims would provide an instant improvement to the Lions TE corps. A capable blocker who can also provide a solid set of hands, Sims would probably start as a role player but could develop into a starter in no time.
Available: Sims could go as early as the 4th round, but I’d wager he lasts until the Lions pick in the 5th, or with their comp pick. No chance he lasts longer than that.
Links: CBS WalterFootball Draft Breakdown Optimum Scouting PFC Highlights vs. Northwestern
Travis Kelce, TE Cincinnatti
6’5″ 255 lbs.
The Lions are clearly not satisfied with their Tight Ends, something I’ve hit upon before. Kelce is a phenomenal run blocker, though only average in pass support. He improved as a receiver last season, but he lacks the athleticism you really look for. He’s polished, though. Some character concerns.
Available: Since he’s ready to contribute right away, and his skills as a run blocker are superb, Kelce will be off the board by the third round. Lions could gamble he’s still there with their third rounder, but Kelce won’t last longer than that.
Links: CBS eDraft Bleacher Report Blue Star NFL’s Future Highlights Career
Onterio McCalebb, RB Auburn
5’10″ 168 lbs.
McCalebb is all speed and little else. His field vision, hands, and ball control all leave something to be desired, but as a role player in an offense where he can follow a blocker McCalebb can be a weapon. You can’t coach sub 4.3 speed.
Available: Anywhere in the later rounds. McCalebb is VERY small for a RB, even most Kick Returners don’t get below 170. As a late round option, the Lions would gamble very little on a player that could provide big returns on Special Teams and as a role player that likes to get out in space.
Links: Bleacher Report vs. Various Return Special Teams
Mike Cox, RB UMass
6′ 220 lbs.
There isn’t anything that Cox offers that Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure do not. He averaged only 3.6 YPC on a very bad UMass team. With the recent acquisition of Reggie Bush, drafting a power back seems frivolous.
Available: The day after the draft is over. Can’t see why anyone would draft him. Lions may be looking for depth behind Leshoure.
Links: NFLDratScout Flip TD
Latavius Murray, RB UCF
6’3″ 222 lbs.
Guys that big shouldn’t move that fast. Runs too upright, lacks the power for his size (all technique reasons), but huge upside and would benefit from Curtis Modkins’ tutelage.
Available: Would you believe 6th round? I’d take him in the 5th if picking him is in danger, and it probably will be.
Links: Field Gulls End Zone Report Feature vs. Marshall
Steven Miller, RB Appalachian State
5’9″ 180 lbs.
A very small back, Miller took over games when the team let him. Looks very good on tape, deceptively fast and shows good field vision and an ability to get to the second level fast. Below average competition and size are limiting factors. Posted a vertical of over 42 inches during the Lions visit.
Available: Will likely go undrafted, but probably better than Devin Moore, who is presently on the roster, so worth a look.
Links: 2012 Highlights 2011 Highlights
Kyle Juszczyk, H-Back Harvard
6’1″ 248 lbs.
One of the top Fullbacks in the country, Juszczyk would play H-Back in the Lions scheme in a similar role to how he played as a TE at Harvard. While there are better blockers (not to take away from him, as he IS good), Juszczyk has soft hands and is intelligent enough to find soft spots in underneath zones.
Available: Projected as high as the 4th, I don’t see the Lions jumping until their comp pick in the late 4th round. As he’s considered a FB, he could fall all the way to the 7th. Considering the attention he’s drawn, it’s hard to see him going undrafted or even making it to the 7th round.
Links: CBS Harvard Film Review
Eric Fisher, OT Central Michigan University
6’7″ 306 lbs.
Not a whole lot I can add. Fisher is a very good Offensive Tackle prospect who can start day one on either side of the line. That the Lions pick 5th overall and Fisher likely won’t be there is a testament to how good he is.
Available: We’ll be lucky to see him at 5th overall.
Links: CBS Bleacher Report NEPD SB Nation Senior Bowl Michigan State
Reid Fragel, OT Ohio State University
6’8″ 308 lbs.
Fragel is a poor man’s version of Gosder Cherilus. Not much help in the run game, despite his size, he is a good pass blocker with some issues controlling himself.
Update: Fragel did not appear on the Lions final list of their 30 visits. I’m not sure if it was he or the team that cancelled.
Available: He’ll be a mid to late round selection, so the Lions would need to nab him in the 5th round or later to secure his services. He would make a good option if the Lions can’t improve the line in the first two rounds, but I don’t see him as a long term solution.
Links: Bleacher Report CBS Detroit Lions Draft NFL’s Future vs. Michigan vs. Michigan State
Vinston Painter, OT Virginia Tech
6’4″ 306 lbs.
A mid round athletic prospect, Painter hits like a freight train as a run blocker, so it’s surprising it took so long to plug him at RT, where he fit perfectly.
Available: I’ve seen him graded as high as the mid 3rd round, but I think his lack of polished technique leaves him available in the 4th. The Lions don’t have a 4th rounder until the very end with their comp pick, so it would be interesting to see how they would snag him.
Links: Field Gulls Big Blue View
LaAdrian Waddle, OT Texas Tech
6’6″ 332 lbs.
A long term developmental prospect with upside, Waddle comes from an offense that made the worst of his already poor technique. While familiar with the ins and outs of a spread offense, Waddle will need time to get to pro speed in an offense that does more than let their lineman fall back.
Available: A projected UDFA, Waddle could be picked up anytime. If the Lions select him in the last two rounds, it would be a purely potential pick.
Links: Detroit Lions Draft CBS
Chance Warmack, OG Alabama
6’2″ 317 lbs.
Yet another player I’ve discussed at length, Chance Warmack is the best player in this draft. The only thing keeping him from a more national discussion in the top 5 is his position, Guard.
Available: Only at 5. It’s possible he’ll be available if the Lions trade out of the 5th overall spot.
Brian Winters, OG Kent State University
6’4″ 320 lbs.
One of the most underrated prospects in the draft, Winters was a big part of Kent State’s success in 2012 and helped turn their RB, , into a star.
Available: He should be available when the Lions pick in the third round, but I’ve seen 2nd round grades on him as well so it’s possible he’s gone by then.
Travis Frederick, C Wisconsin
6’4″ 312 lbs.
The trend of NFL quality lineman continues with Frederick. I’m not as high on Frederick as most, but he’d likely be learning in year one and many of his issues are correctable.
Available: Another mid round prospect, I’ve seem Frederick all over the place, so it’s hard to gauge where he’ll go. Should be there when the Lions pick in the 4th, but they might need to jump earlier.
Dion Jordan, DE Oregon
6’6″ 248 lbs.
I covered Jordan on tape earlier and while I feel he was a risky pick, I see nothing but potential in a prospect as big as Jordan who can move the way he does.
Available: Lions might never get a crack at him. He’s in the #1 overall discussion with Fisher and Joekel, and 5th overall seems like a fall.
William Gholston, DE Michigan State University
6’6″ 281 lbs
The Lions don’t use 5 technique Defensive Ends, but the recent acquisition of Jason Jones might mean a change. If that is the case, Gholston would be purely a backup to Jones at LDE while the team seeks out a more dynamic pass rusher on the other side.
Available: Gholston’s stock fluctuates depending on who you ask. It seems as if 3-4 teams value him a lot higher than 4-3 teams, which means that half the teams in the league would value him higher than the Lions will. Gholston is a severe underachiever who will struggle without an extremely strong coaching staff. His attitude and work ethic issues might see him fall as far as the 6th round, which is where I’d take a flyer on his athleticism.
Jarvis Jones, LB Georgia
6’2″ 245 lbs.
A polarizing player, Jones was one of my favorite players in college football this season. While I feel his medical issues aren’t a problem, he plays wild and misses more tackles than he should.
Update: The Lions scheduled a meeting with Jones, but obviously must have cancelled as he didn’t visit the facility prior to the team’s completion of their draft visits.
Available: If the Lions don’t take him at 5th overall, there’s an off chance he falls to them in the 2nd round due to concerns about his health. Most of those concerns were taken care of by several teams doctors and a national expert, however.
Links: Silverdome Blues Tale of the Tape
Jeremiah Green, LB Nevada
6’1″ 245 lbs.
Green is a former receiver who converted to LB in 2010. He has sub 4.5 speed and soft hands, but needs to increase his strength and tackling mechanics.
Available: His lack of experience at LB and poor mechanics should see him fall out of the draft completely. If the Lions select him in the later rounds, it’s due to the possibility of someone else taking him.
Manti Te’o, LB Notre Dame
6’1″ 241 lbs.
Te’o has had enough controversy surrounding him that people seem to forget the kind of talented inside Linebacker he has been.
Available: Could fall to the Lions in the 2nd round, which is why I think they brought him in. If they pass on him then, don’t fret as his fall could be even worse than just one round…
Vince Williams, LB Florida State University
6’1″ 233 lbs.
A late round tweener MLB prospect, Williams has a lot of tools, but his toolbox is a mess. Developmental prospect that could thrive in time behind Tulloch.
Available: Williams could get drafted, but it wouldn’t be highly. If the Lions want him, he could be there for either of their 7th round picks.
Links: Bleacher Report
David Amerson, CB North Carolina State University
6’1″ 205 lbs.
Considered the best CB in the nation after the 2011 season by a wide margin, Amerson went backwards in 2012 dropping from a ridiculous 13 INTs in 2011 to ‘only’ 5 in 2012. Paired with Chris Houston, however, Amerson could be frightening.
Available: Some pretty horrid games last season dropped his draft stock significantly, but he shouldn’t fall far past the Li0ns 2nd round pick. If they want him, they’ll have to pick him there.
Dee Milliner, CB Alabama
6′ 201 lbs.
The best Cornerback coming into the 2012 draft, Milliner has the ability to play in man and zone, both well. Covered at length here and here.
Available: Might not make it to the Lions at 5, definitely won’t last much longer than that if the Lions don’t take him.
Rashaan Melvin, CB Northern Illinois Univeristy
6’2″ 192 lbs.
The Lions said they were looking big at corner, an Melvin fits that mold. Big and fast (4.46) with the ability to get his hand on the ball (17 Pass Deflections in 2012), Melvin is a developmental prospect who probably won’t take long to develop.
Available: Projected in the mid to later rounds, I think his ceiling would be the Lions 4th round comp pick. Lions could gamble he’ll be there later, but they could get lucky with him coming from a smaller school, despite that school being very good in 2012.
Darius Slay, CB Mississippi St.
6′ 192 lbs.
Big and fast, Slay fits the prototype the Lions have been looking for at corner. He has issues backpedalling, which will hinder him in the Lions scheme, but it’s fixable.
Available: Concerns about his knee dictate he would presumably be available with the Lions 3rd round pick, but there is both the possibility of him jumping into the early 2nd if his injury clears or sliding to the 4th in a crowded class.
Cody Davis, S Texas Tech
6’2″ 203 lbs.
A come from outta nowhere player, it’s hard to see how Davis has flown so far under the radar after a standout at the Super Regional Combine. A big, physical tackler (101 tackles in 2012) with 4.4 speed and good coverage skills? Likely not a day one starter like some of the other, highly touted draft Safeties, Davis could develop into something special.
Available: Prior to the Regional Combine, Davis was considered a late round flyer. It’s hard for me to see him lasting past the Lions 4th round comp pick, where teams are already drafting based on athletic ability.
Jonathan Meeks, S Clemson
6’1″ 209 lbs.
A player who knows what to do with the ball in his hands but struggles as a defender getting in position to get it there. Worth developing.
Available: Unlikely to be drafted, I think the Lions stay put on Meeks and try to bring him in after the draft. Some buzz might make them flinch in the 7th.
Sam Martin, P Appalachian State
6′ 206 lbs.
The Lions were impressed with Martin at his pro day and brought him in for a visit afterwards. A specialist who can Kick in a pinch, Martin posted a whopping 45.9 punting average after pedestrian years prior to that. The Lions are likely looking at him to compete with newly acquired Blake Clingan in camp.
Available: Any time. Martin might be getting looked at by some teams, but hasn’t garnered the national attention of other Punters. He’s likely to go undrafted, and with the interest the Lions have paid, it’s hard to see him going elsewhere.