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Detroit Lions 2024 draft watch: 6 players to watch, including CB Josh Newton

This Saturday’s Detroit Lions 2024 NFL draft watch examines six players to watch.

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BYU v TCU Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

This week’s Detroit Lions draft watch focuses on four games you can watch throughout the Week 11 slate of college football games. Here are the matchups we are watching this Saturday:

  • Michigan (3) at Penn State (10) at 12:00 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Utah (18) at Washington (5) at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Florida at LSU (19) at 7:30 p.m. ET on SECN
  • Texas (7) at TCU at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Let’s look closer at this week’s players that Lions fans should be watching.

Michigan (3) at Penn State (10)

Jaylen Harrell, EDGE, Michigan (Senior)
6-foot-4, 252 pounds

An excerpt from Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, via MLive:

““He really is (a tone setter). He’s at a point in his career now where he’s really confident, he’s really, really detailed, he’s really disciplined in his approach,” Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said. “And he has this ability. Who is the guy that can make the magic happen when you need it? When you need a play, when you need a guy that can cover a guy on fourth down and bat the ball down. It’s him.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

As the Lions look for answers at their SAM (pass rushing) linebacker spot, Harrell offers them an upside player who could be a better pro than a collegiate athlete. As part of Michigan’s rotation, he can get overlooked sometimes, but he has terrific instincts and the athletic skills to make an impact at the next level.

Adisa Isaac, EDGE, Penn State (Senior)
6-foot-4, 250 pounds

An excerpt from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s players I hated leaving off my top 50 ($):

“After missing the 2021 season, Isaac teased flashes last season. He’s in the midst of a career year now and leads Penn State in tackles for loss (9.5), sacks (5.5) and pressures (23). He is still very much a work in progress, but he has length (33 3/8-inch arms) and big-time speed.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

Like with Chop Robinson, who we profiled earlier in the season, Isaac developed his game under current Lions defensive line coach John Scott Jr. up until this offseason when he departed for Detroit. Isaac is another pass rusher who could fit into the Lions’ SAM role.

Utah (18) at Washington (5)

Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington (Redshirt Sophomore)
6-foot-2, 204 pounds

An excerpt from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s mid-season top-50 ($):

“Polk (46 catches for 836 yards and seven TDs) makes outstanding adjustments on the football, and he boasts the size and concentration to win in traffic. I’m not sure what Polk’s timed speed will be, but he has the route acceleration to give his quarterback a window.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

Washington has three NFL-level wide receivers—we profiled Rome Odunze earlier in the season—including Polk who has WR-X starter-level upside in the NFL. He’s not a separator, per se, but as you can see in the clip above, he can pluck the ball out of the air regardless of coverage.

Florida at LSU (19)

Princely Umanmielen, EDGE, Florida (Senior)
6-foot-4, 250 pounds

An excerpt from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s players I hated leaving off my top 50 ($):

“Third in the SEC in pressures (34), Umanmielen has been a disruptive edge player and taken the jump NFL scouts were hoping to see from him in 2023. With his length and quick-reaction play style, he has the versatility to stand up or put his hand on the ground. He has put himself in the Day 2 discussion.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

Umanmielen is another SAM option who could end up on the Lions' radar after a productive senior season. His length and athleticism will appeal to a lot of teams in the NFL—including Detroit—and that physical profile could land him a spot in the top 100.

Texas (7) at TCU

Josh Newton, CB, TCU (Senior)
5-foot-11, 189 pounds

An excerpt from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s players I hated leaving off my top 50 ($):

“Newton won’t be universally loved, due to his size (5 feet 10 7/8 inches, 189 pounds and 30 1/2-inch arms). But the tape shows a good football player with NFL starter-level talent. He limits big plays and has yet to allow a touchdown this season.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

A bit underrated because of his size, but he’s one of the better man coverage corners in this class. With a chance to come off the board within the top 100 picks, he is another option on Day 2.

Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas (Junior)
6-foot-4, 245 pounds

An excerpt from Anthon Sports Kyle Crabbs’ profile of Sanders:

“Sanders has proven himself to be a dangerous weapon in the passing game, showcasing reliable hands and solid ball skills, competitive toughness at the top of the route, and effective run-after-catch skills. Sprinkle in a serviceable level of blocking abilities and strong effort, and you have a player who can be a passing-game asset and versatile enough to play fully in 11 personnel.”

How he’d fit with the Lions:

This would obviously be a luxury pick with Sam LaPorta locked in as the Lions starting tight end for the foreseeable future, but the Lions don’t pass on talent, and Sanders has a bunch of it. Adding Sanders to the mix would upgrade an already potent offense.

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