The majority of players playing in this game will hear their name called during the upcoming NFL draft, and all of them will surely be in an NFL camp this fall. Based on general manager Brad Holmes’ history, the Lions’ current spot in the rebuild, and the fact that they are coaching the American roster, the Lions could end up adding at least four and as many as eight players from today’s game to their roster.
Here are 20 players—one from each roster at each of the ten positions— that fit the Lions scheme and should be on Lions’ fan’s radars.
American: Malik Willis, Liberty (Jersey No. 7)
National: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (8)
Willis is the hot name in the Lions community, and we have dedicated quite a few articles to him this week. He’s a dynamic quarterback that has seen his stock rise after his performance this week and may have locked himself into the first round.
Pickett may be the most complete quarterback in this draft class and has a chance to separate himself from the rest of the pack with a good performance in this game.
American: Dameon Pierce, Florida (27)
National: Abram Smith, Baylor (28)
Both Pierce and Smith are excellent pass blockers and that alone will get the Lions’ attention. But both have more to their game than just efficiency in the passing game and can bring some between-the-tackle production.
American: Calvin Austin III, Memphis (83)
National: Christian Watson, North Dakota State (1)
Austin was called “one of the smartest” wide receivers at the Senior Bowl by Lions’ wide receiver coach Antwaan Randel El. At just 5-foot-8, 173 pounds, Austin is undersized, but he uses that to his advantage in his routes. Add in his elite quickness and he routinely gains separation—something the Lions need amongst their receiver room.
Watson (6-foot-4, 211) established himself as a Day 2 receiver people need to be paying attention to. With the Lions also looking for an outside receiver, he should also be on the Lions' wish list.
With Randel El wanting the Lions to draft two receivers in April, this combination would be fun.
American: Greg Dulcich, UCLA (85)
National: Trey McBride, Colorado State (85)
Last week, I speculated that the player Holmes traded for was Dulcich, and after this week, nothing has changed my mind. The former wide receiver is dripping with upside and could be someone they target to complement T.J. Hockenson.
McBride could end up being TE1 in this class due to his balance and efficiency. With the Lions in the market, may as well keep an eye on the top option.
American: Jamaree Salyer, Georgia (68)
National: Andrew Steuber, Michigan (71)
The Lions have invested in their offensive line and with no changes expected among the starters, they should have their eyes on position versatile options. My guess is that a Day 3 lineman with tackle/guard capabilities would appeal to them and both Salyer and Steuber are worth paying close attention to.
Interior defensive line
American: Devonte Wyatt, Georgia (95)
National: Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma (98)
Big-time risers this week, both Wyatt and Winfrey wrecked the offensive line in practices and will likely do so in the game as well. Both are top-50 projected selections who have first-round aspirations due to their first step. Right now I have Wyatt as the better overall player but Winfrey isn’t far behind.
American: Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina (53)
National: Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH) (11)
With expectations being that the Lions will take an edge rusher with the second overall pick, the need to add another edge in this class is low. But that shouldn’t restrict the Lions from keeping their options open to the idea of adding another player capable of making an impact as a disrupter. Both can set the edge and get home on the quarterback but consistency will be their biggest obstacle to overcome.
American: Damone Clark, LSU (18)
National: Chad Muma, Wyoming (48)
Two of my favorite players in this game, hands down.
Clark is highly intelligent and things really came into focus for him as a senior. At 6-foot-2 1⁄2, 240 pounds, he can run like the wind, drop into coverage, and blitz with efficiency. It also doesn’t hurt that Lions outside linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard was his position coach at LSU before joining the Lions in 2020.
Muma has long been a favorite of mine due to his speed to the ball, intelligence, and instincts. At 6-foot-2 1⁄2, 241 pounds, he also has incredible speed for his size and could be an instant starter on the Lions' defense.
American: Tariq Wollen, UTSA (20)
National: Coby Bryant, Cincinnati (29)
No player has seen his stock rise more than Wollen this week. Often thought of as a mid-Day 3 pick with upside, the 6-foot-3 1⁄2, 205 pounds former receiver recorded the fastest GPS speed at the Senior Bowl, and proved he should be considered in the top-100 picks.
Not only was UTSA’s Tariq Woolen fastest player in Mobile this week, his max speed of 22.45 mph is best since @ZebraTechnology has been providing data for @seniorbowl. Been plenty of 4.3 guys in Mobile. Will @_Tariqwoolen hit 4.2’s? #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ #BestoftheBest pic.twitter.com/V7B1A8AqlG— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 5, 2022
As impressive as Wollen is, Bryant (6-foot-1 1⁄2, 191 pounds) also more than exceeded his expectations. He came into this week firmly as a Day 2 pick, but now should be in the top-50 conversation and wouldn’t be out of the question at pick No. 34 for the Lions.
American: Yusuf Corker, Kentucky (29)
National: Jalen Pitre, Baylor (8)
I grabbed Corker late in the fifth round in my Senior Bowl-Only Lions’ seven-round mock draft due to his ability to play in split zones and the upside to develop into a third safety role in the Lions scheme.
Pitre is a hybrid safety/linebacker that is becoming ever popular position in the NFL. While the Lions don’t currently have anyone in that role on their current roster, it is a position they could be looking to add, and the Baylor prospect is one of the best at it in this class.