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Detroit Lions 2022 draft watch: 8 prospects to watch this Saturday

2022 draft prospects to watch during each time slot on Saturday.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 06 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Louisville v Ole Miss Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This Saturday’s (October 2) slate of college football features some heavyweight games. In order to maximize your viewing pleasure, instead of listing random players with games spread out throughout the day, we’ve identified one game in each TV time slot, as well as multiple prospects in each game that we believe Detroit Lions scouts may be keeping their eyes on.

In this week’s watchlist, there are three games where top-12 teams will face off against one another during the afternoon hours, and a night game that will feature a contender for best player in this draft class:

  • Arkansas (8) at Georgia (2) at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Cincinnati (7) at Notre Dame (9) at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC
  • Mississippi (12) at Alabama (1) at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
  • Auburn (22) at LSU at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

Now that we are a month into the college football season, we’re going to change things up a bit. Instead of profiling two players from each game on opposite sides of the ball, we’re going to begin matching talent with team needs.

If you’re interested in going back and looking at the previous Saturday watchlists to revisit some of the players profiled, you can find those links here:

Alright, let’s get to this week’s profiles.

Arkansas (8) at Georgia (2) at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas (junior)

NFL draft expert Fran Duffy describes Burks as “if you put AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel and Terrell Owens into a blender.”

At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Burks’ skill set is unique. He has the long speed to be a vertical threat, is big enough to bully defensive backs at the catch point, yet he takes the majority of snaps out of the slot and is used on a variety of gadget plays typically earmarked for smaller, quicker receivers. If there is a downside to Burks’ game, it’s that because he lines up in a variety of spots, he is rarely challenged at the line of scrimmage the way a traditional receiver would be, thus leaving parts of his game unpolished.

Previously profiled from Arkansas: Jalen Catalon, safety (redshirt sophomore), in Week 4.

Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia (junior)

At just 6-foot, 225 pounds, Dean is undersized for most traditional linebacker roles. But with the modern defensive scheme the Lions now run, his speed, instincts, and ability to cover makes him a solid fit in Detroit. His size could be a problem in the run game in the NFL—no surprise, he can struggle to shed blocks—but in college he routinely beats the offensive linemen to a spot and can be an impactful hitter.

Previously profiled from Georgia: Adam Anderson, EDGE (Senior), in Week 1.

Cincinnati (7) at Notre Dame (9) at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati (senior)

Sanders is long and tall (6-foot-5) which gives off the impression he is thin, but at 258 pounds he’s got plenty of bulk to live as a 4-3 defensive end or stand up pass rushing linebacker. His best spot in the NFL would be on the right side of the defense, which would project him to the Lions WILL linebacker role that is currently occupied by Trey Flowers.

With an impressive display of pass rushing moves and the ability to string them together, Sanders can be a handful for offensive tackles. Add in his elite first-step and tremendous effort to finish plays, and it’s no surprise he has been rising up draft boards this fall.

Previously profiled from Cincinnati: Desmond Ridder, QB (Senior) and Ahmad Gardner, CB (junior) in Week 3.

Isaiah Foskey, EDGE, Notre Dame (redshirt sophomore)

The Lions already have two Notre Dame edge rushers on the roster (the Okwara brothers) and Foskey should be in their radar, even if it’s not in this draft. Like Sanders (above) he sits at 6-foot-5 and nearly 260 pounds and brings a solid first-step to the table. He’s not as technically sound as Sanders, but the traits are there. Will he develop quickly enough over the season to warrant a jump to the NFL, or might he return to polish his game, then make his move in 2023? He’s worth keeping tabs on.

Previously profiled from Notre Dame: Kyle Hamilton, safety (junior) in Week 1, and Kyren Williams, RB (redshirt sophomore) in Week 4.

Mississippi (12) at Alabama (1) at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss (junior)

Corral is the belle of the ball in today’s tremendous slate of matchups. A potential top-five quarterback prospect entering the season, his game has remained steady as others have fallen off, and he has a chance to put his name at the top of the quarterbacks list today at Alabama.

A highly efficient passer (over 70 percent completion rate), who can also gain yardage with his legs, the biggest knock on Corral was his turnover rate. So far, through four games, he has yet to throw an interception. What led to the improved play? Check out this stellar in-depth breakdown of Corral’s “rapid development” from Jordan Reid of the Draft Network.

Jordan Battle, S, Alabama (junior)

A multipurpose weapon for Alabama coach Nick Saban, Battle has a lot of experience as the team’s single-high safety, but has also been called upon to fill roles closer to the line of scrimmage. That kind of positional versatility is preferred in the split safety Lions scheme, while also bringing the instincts and an attacking mentality.

Previously profiled from Alabama: John Metchie III, WR (junior) in Week 1, and Christian Harris, LB (junior) in Week 3.

Auburn (22) at LSU at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN

Derek Stingley, CB, LSU (junior)

Stingley looks like a surefire top-five draft selection, but before you head to the chat and scream “not another top-five CB”, let me explain why I have him on the watchlist.

First, he’s tremendous and fun to watch. Second, it’s important to the know the value of the players at the top of the draft, especially if you may also end up holding a high pick. Third, it’s important to know the gap between an elite level player and others at his position who still have a chance to be great, but aren’t instant impact players just yet.

Which leads me to the final player on our watchlist...

Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn (junior)

Only in his first year as a full-time starter, McCreary has flashed enough talent that analysts believe he can already be a Day 2 selection. At 6-foot, 190 pounds, McCreary has the long speed to stay with receivers in man, but is also smooth and athletic enough to operate in zone coverage.

One of the things the Lions coaches loved about Ifeatu Melifonwu’s game was his instincts in off-man coverage. With Auburn showing more of these defensive looks in 2021, he could have a chance to catch the Lions’ coaches eyes as well.

Previously profiled from Auburn: Bo Nix, QB (junior) in Week 3.

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