Time for round four. This will probably be the last round that I post as the round 5 and lower guys are all over the place. At that point I would just be taking guys that have the highest possible upside and there are just way too many scenarios to list and think of. On top of that the Lions not having a 6th round pick means that they may go for what some see as a reach, because that player fits our scheme better than higher rated players. Meaning you kind of have to roll two rounds into one. I might do a "Lowe Round Draft Value" write up though, of specific guys that I like in rounds 5-7, because I will likely get bored between now and draft time :P
Curtis Marsh: There is a lot to like about this guy, I have no idea why people value him as a 4th rounder because I really like his game a lot. He has good size 6"- 1/2" and ran a 4.52 40. Add to that good ball skills, good deep cover skills, good run support, physical at the line, good hips, good recovery speed, and I have a hard time understanding why he got knocked down so low. Sure 4.52 is not super fast but he plays faster than that. He needs work on play recognition and getting his head around to locate the ball, but I still see his game as being a lot better than some 3rd round prospects. Not to mention that he has the size to be able to be a number one guy. If the Lions can trade down in round one, there is some very good value in the top of rounds 2, 3, and 4 in this draft. After seeing guys like this, grading out as 4th round prospects, I will be pretty happy if the Lions can trade down. This guys skill set matches up to our defense very nicely.
Demarco Murray: This guy just temps me too damn much with his upside. He is fast and has decent size and good hands. He can be electric with the ball at times. Part of why I like him so much is that he compliments Best very well in that we don't completely lose the explosion plays or passing plays when Murray is in the game. However he does have some big flaws that make him a 4th round talent instead of a first or second round guy. He needs a LOT of work in pass protection, he will be a liability there for a while. He also tends to get injured a lot because of his upright running style, which also makes him not so great at powering through tackles. But overall, his combination of speed, athleticism, vision, and hands make him a very nice back that could develop into an elite one with some work on his pad level and added leg strength.
Colin McCarthy: I like this guy as a sleeper pick for us. He is a good effort guy that has a lot of nice parts to his game. While he needs some work to not over pursue his tackles he is not nearly as bad as Ernie Sims was. Mainly his big drawback is his 4.65 speed and lack of man cover skills. He is a high effort guy that plays the run extremely well. In fact if the Lions would ever budge on playing Levy outside again, this guy could be a stud MLB for us day one. A lot of people downgrade him based on a shoulder injury in his sophomore year, but he had a very productive junior and senior year and I did not see any lingering effects.
Austin Pettis: This guy is the prototypical slot / possession type of receiver. He has good size that he knows how to use, is a decent route runner, and will win jump balls. He is also pretty fearless in going over the middle and has great hands. Good run blocker. That being said he is slow and not very dangerous after the catch. I believe he would be an amazing 3rd receiver for the Lions and be extremely productive in that role. He has the ability to play inside or outside which makes him almost the perfect 3rd guy on a roster.
Buster Skrine: This guy has elite speed and athleticism to go along with football skills. While he is on the small side for a corner, he probably has the biggest upside of any small corner in this draft. On top of that he is an electric return specialist too. He can stay with anyone man to man and he will only lose against the bigger more physical receivers. He also has good leaping and ball skills. There is not much downside to this guy, at the very least he can be a solid second nickel on the roster, and while he is a bit of a liability against the run, I believe that could be developed over time and he would be an amazing nickel if not a 2nd corner.
James Brewer: This guy has all of the size check marks to be a left tackle some day, and he can be a dominant right tackle if that don't work out. He has good strength and plays mean along with solid pass blocking skills. He can dominate the point of attack at times and shows ability on the 2nd level, he can anchor as well and shows good agility in small spaces. He will need work on his hands but shows nice feet for a big guy. A perfect fit for our style of game and blocking he is the perfect developmental tackle to compliment Jason Fox.
Shane Vereen: Could it be that the Lions end up drafting Cal running backs in back to back years? Well you already know what Jahvid can do in a game and he brings a lot of that too. Decent pass blocker, good hands and route runner, and good vision. He fits a lot of the prototypes for a Cal back. Howver he is only a 4.5 guy and while he will break some 20 yard plays he is not the home run threat that Jahvid is. He does have a lot more power to his game though and will make it through more trash and most arm tackles (still struggles against defensive linemen). While he might not be a sexy running back in my opinion he is every bit as solid as Mark Ingram and comes a hell of a lot cheaper.
Jordan Todman: This running back has home run speed, good vision, and a nice hands and passing routes. That being said he likes to bounce everything to the outside and is typical of a smaller back, which means he does not have much power to his game and he is a liability in pass protection. He does return kicks though and while he is not really a good fit for a change of pace to Jahvid Best I think he easily displaces Aaron Brown off the roster and just might end up being more productive than people would think.
Kendric Burney: While this guy is small and ran a slow 40 time at the combine, he does not play slow. Personally I am willing to discount the 40 time, on tape he is a gamer and a big time one. He is physical and shows good ball skills. He is really good in zone cover and fights to compete in man cover even though his size limits his ability there. This guy is going to give someone amazing value in the 4th round because he did not run a good 40 time. He also has an NCAA suspension in his background for rules violations but I could care less about that. Oh yes, and he has more than his school in common with A. P. he also needs a lot of work on securing the ball better.
Chimdi Chekwa: Decent size and great speed for a corner. Good hips, and decent ball skills. While he is not super physical against the run or as a tackler he does show as being decent there. All in all his skill set matches up to us well and he could over time develop into a number one corner. The drawbacks with him is that he more of a zone cover guy and needs work on his man cover. He also tends to have brain farts and seems to fall asleep on the field at times.
Rob Housler: This guy is a Toney Scheffler clone. Elite pass skills with almost no blocking skills. 6'-5", 248 lbs. and a 4.55 40. Runs great routes, has great hands, is great after the run, has long arms. I mean for a pass catching tight end he does it all and could step in day one as our receiving tight end. While I know a lot of people like Schef, and I do too, I would take this guy in the fourth here because he is a long term solution that does not have the reoccurring injury issues that Schef does. Besides who better to mentor the guy than one who knows his game at the NFL level. This guy is worth carrying four tight ends on the roster.
Pernell McPhee: This end is a perfect candidate for LDE. He has a good bull rush and swim moves and while he is not fast he can pressure the QB. Pretty solid against the run. He could step in day one and play LDE and not hurt us. He also has dropped back in coverage before so adds some new wrinkles while he is on the field. Another one of those guys that while not an elite athlete, is a damn good football player.
Jeremy Beal: This guy is very interesting. He shows everything you would like in a pass rush DE on tape. Though he is more of a motor and effort pass rusher and need to develop some finesse to his game, his lack of size makes it hard for him to play the run well. He also ran slow at the combine so he may drop even further than round four in the draft. But here is what really gets me interested in him. He played WSLB in a 4-3 scheme and actually has some ability to play in space. If developed as a LDE he could be an amazingly versatile 3rd down end that would add a dimension to our defense a year or two down the line. Because of his ability to drop int coverage he could add some 3-4 elements to our 3rd down package, allowing us to blitz multiple linebackers from different places. However I think one of the savvy 3-4 teams will see this guy as a gem and snap him up in the fourth or possibly even third round.
Joe Lefeged: This guy is pretty interesting. He ran the fastest 40 time at the combine for safety. Yet he is not good in coverage, he is actually really amazing against the run, a SS throwback type of player. I can sum his game up in pretty much two words "wild man". And it is true, he plays like a damn beast back there and most of his deficiencies in coverage I believe can be fixed. Makes a lot of misreads and takes a lot of misteps in coverage, that can be coached up. While this guy might take some time to develop, if he could develop some cover and ball skills he could end up having a Bob Sanders like game, then again if he don't he is no better than a C. C. Brown.
Delone Carter: Decent power back compliment to Jahvid Best. He gets yards after contact and has decent speed for a big guy. That being said he is more of a goal line big back than an every down kind of guy. He lacks moves in open space and is a liability in pass protection and the passing game as a receiver. Decent vision but is the one cut and up type that is generally better in a zone blocking scheme. He also had academic issues along with a misdemeanor assault charge.
Chris Hairston: This guy is a developmental project. He does a lot of things well but needs to add some mean to his game to go along with his size. He has the physical tools to be a right tackle, and could probably play the left side at some point in his 2nd contract with the right coaches and enough development. He would need to add strength for a year or so before he was effective on the right side too. But almost all of his problems lie in the strength and technique areas. If he can develop then he could be a solid starter down the road.
Quinton Carter: This safety pretty much does it all. He is one of those solid guys that you plug in day one and while no one expects him to be a starter he ends up having a long career in the NFL. While he is not elite at anything, about the only bad thing you can say about him is that he is inconsistent at times. While his cover skills are adequate, he gives up some big plays at times too. While I do not think he is a long term solution for the Lions, I do think that he could end up Replacing both Randy Phillips in the short term, and Eric Coleman down the road. A solid depth guy and special teamer.
Cliff Mathews: This guy is a bit of an enigma. He has all kinds of athleticism and for a DE he has a lot of cover skills too. He looks like a real good 3-4 outside backer. He needs a lot of work on the discipline side of the game, pursuit angles, tackling form, you get the idea. If he had his head on straight he could have gone much higher than here, but he seems to be disinterested at times on the field and he also did not even respond to his invite to the East West Shrine Game. Something tells me this guy will bust, but if the Lions do their homework and he checks out on the character concerns he has all the tools to be an amazing player, if only he can get coached up a bit and stay motivated.
Jacquizz Rodgers: While this guy is slow and small he has a lot of other nice parts to his game. He is very elusive and has a very good stop and go. A nice developmental guy that could be a decent rotational back if he gets more power and patience to his game. He also, expectedly because of lack of size, is a really weak pass protector.
Cecil Shorts: A possession type of receiver that is a bit undersized. Good route runner. Being a former QB he finds ways to get open and can play slot or on the outside. Good hands. Kind of like a smaller Austin Pettis that is not a good jump baller nor a good run blocker, he also played division 3 so his true talent is level is suspect.
Brandon Hogan: This guy has a lot to like. He has decent speed and is physical. Though he will need Safety help on deep balls. He just might be the hardest hitting corner in the draft. He is also good in zone cover and jamming at the line. He needs work in man cover, and does nto have great ball skills. An on field leader who never quits this guy would probably be a 3rd round pick if he did not have some negatives in his background. He has a DUI on his record and was suspended indefinitely form the team before being reinstated. He also had academic troubles. He also was just recently arrested for driving on a suspended license from that previous DUI. Tore his ACL in December.
Vincent Brown: This receiver has everything but speed and size. That being said he is a good value as 4th or 5th WR best suited for the slot. He also is very elusive after the catch, which means he could serve as a returner even though he don't have great speed.
4th round talents I would pass on
Niles Paul: A possession receiver that has too many downsides for me to be interested in him. Namely inconsistency and small hands.
Tyler Sash: While I love the guys game he is just too slow and lacks so much on the athletic side that he is not a fit for our scheme.
Akeem Dent: Too much of a project at LB and lacks enough speed for our scheme.
Dwayne Harris: While he could be a good slot receiver for someone there are too many guys ahead of him in this round that offer more than he does.
D. J. Williams: A decent H back tight end prospect but he brings nothing special to the table.
Shiloh Keo: A big physical safety that runs too slow to fit in our scheme