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2019 NFL Draft: 8 small-school prospects for the Lions

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There are many talented FCS prospects that the Lions should consider during the draft.

NCAA Football: UC - Davis at San Diego State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Each and every year, there are a multitude of FCS prospects that will hear their name called during the NFL Draft. Last year, there were 19 players drafted from FCS programs. Dating back to 1978, there has been at least one FCS player selected in the top three rounds, and this year, it doesn’t appear like that will change.

There are a handful of FCS names that should draw the Detroit Lions’ attention. Here are eight of them:

Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Perhaps the most notable and highly-touted FCS prospect, Nasir Adderley projects to go somewhere in the first round or second round, and rightfully so. Adderley is a straight up ball hawk with near-elite range. Though he can line up all across the secondary, his best role will likely be as a single-high safety where he can use his instincts with his eyes on the quarterback to create turnovers.

Adderley is currently in an awkward spot for the Lions if they’re looking to add him as an extra safety, so it’s likely that they’d either have to trade back with their No. 8 pick or trade back into the first round at some point.

Khalen Saunders, IDL, Western Illinois

Often when watching FCS or lower competition, you’ll see sheer and utter dominance from the standout players that are worthy of a shot in the NFL. It’s hard to project some players because that’s what you expect. If you’re going to make it in the NFL, then you better produce against weaker competition.

Saunders was a menace on the field and showed flashes of otherworldly strength despite poor technique and not being all that great of an athlete. I expect him to go in the late Day 2 or Day 3 range and if he can clean up on his technique, he can develop into an anchor on the defensive line.

Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison

With the Lions vocally expressing their desire to add playmakers, Moreland comes to mind as one of the top options for the Lions in the later rounds of the draft. Over the past two years, Moreland has intercepted the ball 18 times (13 in the past two years), taking six of them to the house for TDs.

Moreland is small and will most likely be limited to playing slot duties, but he plays tougher than his listed size and has experience in man coverage.

Despite signing Justin Coleman in free agency, who is thought to be at his best when playing nickel or slot, the Lions could still target a slot corner in the draft, especially in the later rounds. Coleman is capable of playing on the outside and did so often during his short stint with the Patriots, so nothing would surprise me at this point.

Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis

Doss could be a nice value pick for the Lions in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft and has the ability to line up as a big slot or could even replace Marvin Jones Jr., should the Lions choose to move on from him at any point. Doss is great at the catch point and very reliable in contested situations.

Over the past two seasons, Doss totaled a ridiculous 233 receptions for 2,833 receiving yards and 16 TDs. He was also a major standout during Senior Bowl week and received plenty of praise for his performance.

Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

If the Lions are looking to add an immediate starter on the offensive line, then the FCS level is not where they should look. Howard is arguably the top FCS OL to enter the draft, but is far from a polished prospect. As a former quarterback and tight end, Howard is still learning the position and has a long way to go from a technical standpoint.

Still, Howard has shown some flashes of greatness in big games, including a clean performance during the Senior Bowl. As a mid-to-late round prospect, Howard offers great length and good foot quickness, and can develop into a solid right tackle down the road.

Bruce Anderson, RB, North Dakota State

Despite recently signing C.J. Anderson, I wouldn’t cross off the possibility of the Lions going after a running back in the draft (likely in the later rounds), and there’s another Anderson out there that they should give a long look.

Bruce Anderson is a projected late-round pick and a natural pass catcher in the backfield. With the future of Theo Riddick uncertain, Anderson could compete for one of the final running back spots on the roster. Anderson thrives as a zone runner and is very light on his feet. He is able to change directions quickly and consistently fall forward, leaving no meat on the bone.

John Cominsky, EDGE, Charleston

An elite athlete, Cominsky was invited to the Senior Bowl and was given the chance to show off his versatility playing inside and out as well as his impressive speed-to-power. I’ve seen Cominsky mocked anywhere between the third round and the end of the draft, so if the Lions do end up having him pretty high on their board, they might have to take him earlier than some are projecting.

For the Lions, Cominsky would likely play as a down DE with the ability to slide inside on passing downs if need be.

Troy Reeder, LB, Delaware

Though his teammate Adderley is getting all the hype on that Delaware defense, Reeder is someone that has tremendous upside and tested elite during his pro day.

You won’t even be able to find many scouting reports on Reeder and it’s very possible that he doesn’t hear his name called until after the draft, but with his athletic profile, I’d love to take a chance on this guy.