We’ve exhausted almost every possible option for the Detroit Lions at No. 21 overall, but what about the guys that get almost no love? I’m talking about the Day 3 fringe players that rarely pan out, but when they do, it makes the general manager look like a complete genius. The Lions have had their fair share of late-round picks (and even undrafted free agents) contributing for them in recent past, and since they have so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball, I decided to present one late-round option for each position that the Lions should target (not including specialists).
QB Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee)
With Dan Orlovsky’s departure, don’t be surprised if the Lions choose to draft a quarterback in the later rounds for the second year in a row. We know this team loves to have smart guys holding clipboards while they watch Matthew Stafford sling the ball, and there may not be a smarter QB in this class than Joshua Dobbs, who majored in aerospace engineering. His smarts go beyond the classroom, and while it’s unlikely that he would seize the backup QB role from Jake Rudock right away, Dobbs would be a nice addition as a No. 3.
Dobbs was hardly asked to look beyond his first read in Tennessee’s rhythmic offense and will need to clean up his throwing motion before he makes a run at the backup job. According to PFF’s draft guide (which can be purchased for $19.95), Dobbs was the most accurate deep ball thrower in this year’s class with an adjusted completion percentage of 56.3 percent (16 TDs and 4 INTs).
RB Brandon Wilson (Houston)
There isn’t a whole lot of tape to go on with Wilson, who played both running back and cornerback for the Cougars, but after a staggering performance at his pro day, he’s been the hot name among the draft community.
*Shoutout to our own Kent Lee Platte for his work this year on RAS and being available to get me these RAS cards whenever I need them.
Wilson is an elite athlete at both running back and cornerback, but most scouts are projecting him to move back to the offensive side of the ball. Regardless, Wilson will likely be a late-round flyer for any team looking for a developmental pick with a ton of upside and potential.
WR Robert Davis (Georgia State)
Davis was a no-star recruit out of high school and accepted his only scholarship offer by committing to Georgia State. He managed decent production for the Panthers despite having three different starting QBs spanning his four-year career. As shown above, Davis sports a very large frame for the position and is a phenomenal athlete. His length paired with his explosive lower body grants him a vast catch radius. Many outlets have Davis going in the sixth round or later, but I believe some team will jump on him earlier than that.
TE Pharaoh Brown (Oregon)
Brown has a very interesting story coming out of Oregon. In November of 2014, Brown suffered a brutal leg injury in Oregon’s win over Utah. Though fully recovered now, the injury was so bad at the time that Brown nearly had to have his leg amputated after complications.
Pairing Brown’s alleged character concerns with his medical history may result in him falling to the later rounds, and some draft outlets even have him projected to go undrafted. Brown has great size for the position (6-foot-6, 255 pounds) along with the largest wingspan (84 1⁄2 inches) of any TE in this class. He has experience as an in-line blocker, H-back and in the slot and could be a nice low risk/high reward option for the Lions late in the draft.
OL Jermaine Eluemunor (Texas A&M)
Eluemunor is a large man at 6-foot-4, 332 pounds, but he moves a lot quicker than you’d expect and could play right tackle at the next level if he had a longer reach. He has just one year of starting experience under his belt and played both guard and tackle for the Aggies, but will play his best football at guard in the NFL.
Eluemunor posted some big boy numbers on the bench press and it shows on tape. His technique is a work in progress and he often stalemates with his assignments on natural strength alone, but once he improves on his hand placement, the sky is the limit for him. As of now, Eluemunor projects as an early-to-mid Day 3 prospect by most draft outlets.
DL Treyvon Hester (Toledo)
This is a really bad year for any team looking to add a pass rushing defensive tackle. Hester is one of the few pure 3-techs in this class that has some athleticism and quickness off the snap to provide some disruption in the backfield. With Hester, you’re essentially getting another Gabe Wright—rotational 3-tech—at a much cheaper cost (sixth round or later).
EDGE Keionta Davis (Chattanooga)
Davis was invited to the Senior Bowl this year and did not disappoint during week-long practices. He had great production against mediocre competition throughout his career with a combined 31 sacks, 43 tackles for a loss and eight forced fumbles, though he more than held his own when asked to play some of the top teams in the country.
EDGE Keionta Davis (Chattanooga, 6'4", 260lbs) really doesn't look out of place vs. Bama. Held his own vs. blockers. Creates some pressure. pic.twitter.com/6GYx8vMq4x— My Colts Account (@MyColtsAccount) March 30, 2017
Davis tested well at his pro day, reaching 37 inches on the vertical jump as well as running a 4.73 40-yard dash and posting 30 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. A major concern with Davis is the fact that he was unable to participate during the NFL Combine due to a cervical spine issue. I’m sure teams will look very closely into that issue, if they haven’t already.
LB Dylan Cole (Missouri State)
Cole has the athleticism and production (over 450 career tackles) that warrants a late-round pick no matter what you see on tape. At his pro day, Cole ran in the low 4.5s and put himself in the 90th percentile or higher in almost every category among all linebackers that have tested since 1999. Though his mental processing and awareness isn’t quite up to snuff yet, Cole is a high effort player with great leadership, can help out right away on special teams and has the potential to develop into a starting WILL or MIKE in Detroit’s 4-3 system.
CB/S Jeremy Cutrer (Middle Tennessee State)
MTSU is a school that has churned out some really good, under the radar talent lately with Kevin Byard last year, Cutrer and I’Tavius Mathers this year, and then you have guys like Richie James (remember this name) and Brent Stockstill, who I believe will get some much deserved recognition as draft eligible prospects next year.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn was on hand for MTSU’s pro day in mid-March and was likely there to get a good look at Cutrer, who has the skills to play both safety and cornerback as long as he begins to add some more muscle to his rail thin frame (6-foot-1, 168 pounds).
MTSU's Jeremy Cutrer needs more love. Great instincts in off/zone coverage. Does a nice job of planting foot and breaking on the ball here pic.twitter.com/HR29JDB3ta— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) March 30, 2017
Most project Cutrer going in the fourth or fifth round, but I could see him going as high as Day 2 after an impressive showing at his pro day.
S Jordan Sterns (Oklahoma State)
I’ve talked extensively about the top cover safeties in this year’s draft, but the Lions could still be searching for an in-the-box safety that can tackle and provide special teams value. Sterns is a box safety only that struggles when asked to cover in space, but he is a tackling machine, accumulating over 300 tackles in his three years as a starter. He is reportedly a great locker room presence and would provide value and depth in the later rounds.