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2020 Senior Bowl: 10 offensive prospects to watch for the Detroit Lions

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The Senior Bowl is quickly approaching so it’s time to look at who the Detroit Lions should be focusing on the most, continuing on offense.

Colorado V Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

After taking a look at some of the defensive prospects that the Lions coaching staff will get to work with at the Senior Bowl, this time, let’s look on offense. With most of the offense finding success in 2019 despite injuries and a majority returning, it’s unlikely the team will spend many high draft resources on that side of the ball. Still, the team has holes on the offensive line and impending gaps at receiver that need filling and it’s unclear how comfortable the team is at some of their depth positions. With that, we take a look at 10 more prospects to watch that the Lions staff will see up close and personal during the Senior Bowl.

NOTE: As always, language warning for all highlight videos.

Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan

Once upon a time, Patterson was looked upon as a potential first-round pick when he transferred from Mississippi to Michigan. He wasn’t a consensus top player, but there were some serious believers beginning the moment he came to Ann Arbor. That largely died down the longer he wore the Maize and Blue, but he still possesses some traits worth developing.

He’s a far better athlete than former Michigan and Lions QB Jake Rudock and he has a better arm than former Big 10 and current Lions backup David Blough. Outside of the top 10 in most QB rankings, and outside the top 200 on most big boards, Patterson is likely a day three pick if the Lions fail to retain Jeff Driskel and bring in some needed competition for David Blough.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma/Alabama

If the Lions play it extra cautious with Matthew Stafford’s injury and avoid the significant risk that comes with a prospect like Tua Tagovailoa, they could choose to target Jalen Hurts on day two. Hurts was barely considered a QB prospect by some as he finished in Alabama, with some imagining a better projection as a running back, but Lincoln Riley’s offense revitalized his career in Oklahoma. Hurts lacks the passing savvy of Baker Mayfield and the athletic talents of Kyler Murray, but he holds a healthy balance of the two that may be enticing for a creative offensive coordinator.

Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State

One of my favorite early evals, Eno Benjamin is a slippery runner with a knack for breaking tackles. A tough runner with good balance, I have concerns with how Benjamin measures both in his athletic metrics (especially all of the timed drills) and his size (he’s listed at 210 but his running style can be extremely physical), but Benjamin is a tough ask to take down. More importantly considering the Lions recent history at the position, Benjamin has stayed relatively healthy over the past two seasons, amassing more than 3,000 total yards of offense and nearly 30 touchdowns over that span. Dangerous as a runner and as a receiver, Benjamin is still projected late day two, but I suspect he’ll drop to mid day three after the NFL Combine.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt/Illinois

Not one, but two running backs that I don’t expect to be elite athletes but still feel will help the team accepted invites to the Senior Bowl. Ke’Shawn Vaughn has decent burst and speed, but little else to point to athletically on tape. He appeared in 46 games of college football, an astounding number for a running back at that level as most declare early or simply wear down with touches and contact. Vaughn was alright at Illinois, but it wasn’t until he became the starter at Vanderbilt that he really turned it on, rushing for 7.4 YPC in 2018. His abilities as a receiver need a lot of work, but he’d be fine in a backfield that rotates their backs like Detroit.

Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Johnson has one of those traits you can’t teach that we’re always talking about. Like other receivers that Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia have favored, Johnson struggles to create separation despite his size but is able to win in ways that we’ve seen Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones exploit for a couple years. I don’t expect Johnson to win any track meets any time soon, and he’ll need to drastically improve his ability to beat press (a killer if you’re big and struggle there), but as a fourth receiver to develop into a solid No. 2 option you can find a lot of worse options late day two early day three.

James Proche, WR, Southern Methodist

The end must be nigh as we’re hitting on a third prospect that I am advocating for drafting that probably won’t test all that well. Proche would be an excellent successor to Danny Amendola in this offense. A slick, shifty inside receiver with fantastic hands and a physical blocking style you don’t expect from a little dude, this kid makes more catches that don’t make sense than I can recall from anyone that isn’t big, tall, or fast. The risk here is that, like Amendola, I don’t expect James Proche to measure well in almost any area. Still, despite what could be a sub 2.00 RAS (Danny Amendola had 1.74), I could see the Lions picking James Proche late. Seriously, if you watch any of the highlight videos on this post, watch this one.

Trey Adams, OT, Washington

Once one of the most well thought of tackle prospects in the country, a series of injuries have severely impacted Adams’ draft stock. Reviewing his pre-injury tape, it’s easy to see why the hype was so high. Guy had a ton of talent before back and knee injuries messed it all up. He’s presently healthy and expected to work through the draft process, and making an impression at the Senior Bowl will go a long way to bringing his name back into serious draft discussions. The Lions have had health issues on the OL, so this is obviously a huge risk, but if he returns to form then he is a starting tackle.

Prince Tega Wanogho, OT, Auburn

Projected to go early day two, Wanogho is a guy the Lions could look to as a successor to Rick Wagner at right tackle. As a left tackle, PTW blocked for current Lions starting running back Kerryon Johnson and appears to have the requisite size, length, and athleticism to play in Darrell Bevell’s scheme. He’s also played on both the left and right side of the offensive line, so the concern he’s just a right tackle or just a left tackle isn’t there. He will occasionally get a little jumpy when facing explosive speed rushers, and he’s going to face some talent in Mobile, but he’s definitely a guy to watch.

Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan

It seems like it’s been a while since the Lions have had a capable starter on their offensive interior from the University of Michigan. Nope, can’t even remember the last one. If they truly do lose a starting guard to free agency this season, a competent day two target would be the Wolverine’s Ben Bredeson. With Hank Fraley expected to run the offensive line similarly to his predecessor, Bredeson is a clean fit as long as his testing checks out like I think it will and he offers the same type of versatility along the interior they tend to covet. He would even work in a rotation at guard, if you had it in your head to repeat past mistakes.

Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky

Stenberg isn’t the most athletic of interior linemen, but he can be a serious problem once he gets moving. The Lions have favored larger interior linemen and Stenberg certainly fits that description standing at nearly 6-foot-6 and over 320 pounds. You probably aren’t going to ask him to pull across your line and he lacks some of the versatility the team has favored, but you’ll find few as aggressive and pushy as this Wildcat.