clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

10 potential mid/late-round sleepers the Lions may target

Let's take a look at 10 potential mid/late-round sleepers that the Detroit Lions may target in the 2015 NFL Draft.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We are now less than a week away from the draft! I decided to switch things up a bit, and instead of doing another profile, I'll talk about some of the mid/late-round guys I like in this year's NFL Draft. Here goes nothing:


WR DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech) | 6-foot-2, 226 pounds

If it weren’t for his torn ACL and nagging shoulder injuries (suffered from playing baseball), we’d be talking about Smelter as a possible Day 2 pick. He’s a big receiver who uses his physicality to create separation and consistently found himself wide open on hitch/curl routes.

Smelter is a nasty competitor and arguably the best blocking receiver in this class. He will knock you on your ass if you don’t keep your head up. There are legitimate concerns about Smelter not being exposed to the full route tree because of Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. According to Pro Football Focus, Smelter led the entire WR class with 4.36 yards per route run (YPRR).

WR Tyrell Williams (Western Oregon) | 6-foot-3, 204 pounds

The Lions brought in Tyrell Williams for one of their 30 pre-draft visits in mid-April. Williams is such an under-the-radar-type prospect that I couldn’t even find an draft profile on him. As a D-II prospect, his last chance for a shot at the NFL was to impress teams during an Oregon State pro day -- and that’s exactly what he did.

The 6-foot-4, 204-pound Williams ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 and 4.38 seconds, showed off a 39.5-inch vertical, did the broad jump in 10’7" and the 3-Cone Drill in 6.55 seconds, all of which has piqued the interest of a number of teams, including the Detroit Lions.

The Lions could still use a receiver who can stretch the field, and I see Williams as a late-round project with an infinite amount of upside.

WR/KR Tre McBride (William & Mary) | 6-foot-0, 210 pounds

The Lions have brought in a plethora of return specialists. One of those players is Tre McBride, but he's not just a return specialist. Think of a poor man’s Nelson Agholor, who will be able to line up on the outside, in the slot and handle return duties. He posted some nice numbers at the NFL Combine, including a 4.41 40-yard dash, 1.51 10-yard split and 38-inch vertical jump.

McBride’s superb athleticism and size give him a pretty large catch radius, and that was evident when seeing him make a couple of eye-opening catches against Richmond last year. I expect him to be drafted in the late third/early fourth round range.

OG Quinton Spain (West Virginia) | 6-foot-4, 332 pounds

Spain is admittedly one of my draft crushes this year, and I even have him ranked as my No. 7 interior lineman. He’s a late-round guy who I think can be a solid starter down the road. Teams will love to see his tenacity versus the run, and it was not uncommon to see him completely erase defenders and drive them into the ground. The main concern with Spain is his inconsistent hand use, but it’s an easy fix with the right coaching.

OG Jarvis Harrison (Texas A&M) | 6-foot-4, 330 pounds

Harrison is undeniably talented, but there are some legitimate concerns regarding his work ethic. He’s extremely explosive and did a phenomenal job when asked to pull for the Aggies. His 3-cone time was the third-fastest among all interior linemen behind Florida State’s Cameron Erving and Hobart’s Ali Marpet. Harrison was also benched early in the 2014 season for issues with his conditioning, so there may be some cause for concern there.


CB Craig Mager (Texas State) | 5-foot-11, 201 pounds

Mager is an explosive athlete who really stood out during East-West Shrine Game practices. He does a solid job in press coverage and has a knack for getting physical and sticking with his assignment. He may get knocked for his size, or his poor instincts in zone coverage, but put him in a press-heavy scheme and he will prosper. I believe Mager would add some great depth to Detroit's secondary.

CB JaCorey Shepherd (Kansas) | 5-foot-11, 199 pounds

Shepherd's 4.65 40-yard dash during his pro day definitely didn't help his stock, but he has instincts that you just cannot teach to a cornerback. In 2014, he was sixth in the NCAA in passes defended, and he tallied 32 PDs in the past two years. Put on his tape against Iowa State and watch him battle for 60 straight minutes against a couple of 6-foot-5 receivers and do a great job of shutting them down.

Shepherd tends to struggle on underneath routes and inside releases in general, and he has some pretty slow feet for a corner. I like him in the later rounds, and while he doesn't have a ton of upside, he can bring some solid depth to the CB position.

DT Derrick Lott (Tennessee-Chattanooga) | 6-foot-4, 314 pounds

When you compare Derrick Lott to the competition he faced, he looks like a grown man wrestling with 10-year-olds. He's a Georgia transfer who would be a perfect fit for Detroit's 4-3 scheme in the 3-technique. His hand use is unreal, and he does a spectacular job of using his violent hands and powerful punch to shed blocks. My main concern with Lott is his tendency to get a bit too upright in his stance, but if he can maintain his leverage at the point of attack more consistently, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL.

SS Ibraheim Campbell (Northwestern) | 5-foot-11, 208 pounds

I ranked Campbell as my No. 7 safety in this year's class earlier this week. Here's what I had to say about him:

Campbell is one of my favorite Day 3 prospects and a perfect candidate to play close to the line of scrimmage. He does a great job of tracking the ball and delivering hits and is also considered to be a high-character kid. Teams will likely knock him for his history of injuries, as well as his limitations in coverage and over-aggressiveness on play-action.

OLB Davis Tull (Tennessee-Chattanooga) | 6-foot-2, 246 pounds

Tull is an athletic freak who commanded a 22-team turnout at his pro day (Derrick Lott did not attend). He managed to run a 4.57 40 with a pulled hamstring on his only attempt. His 42.5-inch vertical jump can only be topped by CB Byron Jones (44.5 inches) and WR Chris Conley (45 inches), and his broad jump (132 inches) was second among all OLBs/DEs.

The Lions don't have an immediate need for a pass-rushing OLB because of Kyle Van Noy, but you can never have too many pass rushers. If Tull is still there in the later rounds, I'd find it hard to pass up on him.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.