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2019 NFL Draft Watch: Defensive prospects aplenty in Auburn-Mississippi St. matchup

The Lions need defenders and one game on Saturday has a ton of talent on display.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State at #25 Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2

Oklahoma State

RB Justice Hill, 5-foot-10, 190 pounds (Junior)

Hill is a bit undersized at running back, but should the Lions part ways with LeGarrette Blount, or Theo Riddick becomes a cap casualty—or both—then they’re not going to be looking for a bell cow. They have Kerryon Johnson and they’ll likely be looking for someone to fill a role and Justice Hill could be a nice option for them.

7.5 yards per carry. That’s what Hill is averaging right now in this young 2018 season. Hill is as smooth as it gets carrying the football and is a threat to break out for a big play any time he touches the ball.

With his frame and playmaking ability, you’d like to see him more involved in the passing attack—only five catches in five games for 31 yards. Currently, Hill is considered to be a Day 2 prospect by most outlets, but I could easily see his stock falling pretty far if he’s unable to give teams a reason to keep him out there on third down, especially at his size.

#8 Auburn at Mississippi State, 7:30 p.m. EST, ESPN2


Despite their No. 8 ranking, there aren’t a whole lot of top-end, draft-eligible prospects surrounding the Auburn program. A couple weeks ago, we focused on quarterback, Jarett Stidham, who struggled against LSU.

This week, we turn our heads to the defensive side of the ball.

IDL Derrick Brown, 6-foot-5, 325 pounds (Junior)

Brown is a big dude, and with his towering height comes his inconsistent pad level. He looks every bit of his listed 325 pounds out there bulldozing through offensive linemen and through the souls of running backs/quarterbacks.

When I saw this play I screamed and almost fell out of my chair. That is such a dangerous tackle, but still, the fact that he was able to pull off Triple H’s finishing move on the football field has me sold.

Brown is far from a polished prospect, but I love his size and think he would be a nice fit for Patricia due to his ability to anchor and control the interior.

Mississippi State

IDL Jeffrey Simmons, 6-foot-4, 300 pounds (Junior)

Simmons is a name that has been often mocked to the Lions and sits as a top-10 prospect on most draft boards. He is a fantastic athlete and showcases dominance in both the run game and as a pass rusher.

If the Lions were able to land Simmons, then they probably didn’t have themselves a great year—unless his production falls off drastically. However, Simmons is a great talent and is a player that you can build your front-seven around.

EDGE Montez Sweat, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds (Senior)

This a great draft class for teams that are looking to improve their front seven and Sweat is just another name garnering first-round hype. Though he may not have elite bend around the edge, Sweat makes up for any speed pass rushing deficiencies with his strong hand usage and technical prowess at the point of attack.

Sweat is quick for his size and does a nice job of staying disciplined while keeping his eyes on the ball. A lot of the hype surrounding Sweat as a prospect is due to his sack numbers and pass rush ability, but he’s no slouch in the run game by any means.

As a run defender, Sweat sets the edge well with great discipline. He’s not the type of player who’s going to take a play off or just sit there and he’s constantly using his hands to get off blocks and chase down the ball carrier.