Let’s take a closer look at the top prospects in this game, keeping in mind Detroit’s defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was Boston College’s defensive line coach in 2017 before joining the Lions.
Allen has received some first-round buzz, but he isn’t as flexible as most EDGE rushers that get selected there and unless he blows up the combine, he will likely slide into the early part of round two.
With ties to the Detroit’s coaching staff, it makes sense that mock drafts will likely connect the two if the Lions pass on an EDGE rusher in the first round and recently, Trevor Sikkema of The Draft Network did just that mocking Allen to the Lions in the second-round.
“At 6-5, 285, Allen is a monster on the EDGE and is a perfect fit for the Lions down defensive end role,” I explained in my reaction piece. “His most appealing attribute for the Lions is his ability to anchor the edge and stop the run – which is arguably the thing Lions coaches look for most at this position in this scheme”
The Lions scouted Boston College in October and they will get a chance to see Allen at the Senior Bowl, giving them plenty of time to evaluate him as a prospect. Although, it’s his connection with Pasqualoni that gives the Lions a significant advantage over other teams in understanding what Allen is capable of.
Only a redshirt sophomore, Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline believes Cleveland is the Bronco’s best prospect and “has the potential to move into the draft’s initial 75 picks” if he declares early.
“The redshirt sophomore is fundamentally sound and does a terrific job in pass protection,” Pauline elaborated. “Cleveland must get stronger and improve his run blocking but has upside.”
He will have a chance to show if he is truly pro-ready when he does get matchup up with Allen.
A four-year starter, Lindstrom can play all over the offensive line but is currently at right guard and could be a plug-and-play player for the Lions is T.J. retires.
“I’ve watched a good bit of Lindstrom tape over the past two years, and there really isn’t much to dislike,” The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard said in Lindstrom’s player profile. “He has no major flaws in his game, is extremely consistent in his approach and has the experience needed to make an easy transition to the NFL. Few guards offer his combination of size, movement skills and technique, as Lindstrom rarely loses any 1v1 battles and consistently creates movement in the run game. He may not be an elite prospect, but Lindstrom looks like an immediate starter with enough scheme versatility to work for almost any NFL team.”
Lindstrom will attend the Senior Bowl which should help his stock, but his athletic profile at the NFL Combine will be key for the Lions interest in him.
In 2017, Denis had seven interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 83 tackles, leading to potential top-50 consideration. In 2018 however, his numbers have dropped (one interception, two PBU and 49 tackles) and so has his stock as he may not get selected on Day 2. He will have a chance to increase his value at the senior bowl – and likely a combine invite – while being capable of playing single-high safety will keep him on Detroit’s radar.
Will Harris (safety, 6-1, 210) lines up next to Denis and while he lacks Denis’ speed and ball-hawking skills, he brings intelligence, coverage skills and solid tackling chops. Harris has accepted invites to the Senior Bowl, East/West Shrine game and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl – playing in all three would be challenging but surely would help his draft stock.
Thomas Sweeny (tight end, 6-4, 260) has excellent hands and is a capable blocker, but lacks the athleticism to be a featured prospect.
Jon Baker (IOL, 6-3, 300) is BC’s starting center but is capable of playing guard. A knee injury cost him the 2017 season, but the two-time captain has the intelligence and aggressiveness to be drafted.
Wyatt Ray (EDGE, 6-2, 255) is a bit of a sleeper because of his raw but improving edge rusher skills, but if the talent is there, Pasqualoni is sure to know about it.
Brett Rypien (Quarterback 6-2, 208) is a quick release passer who anticipates windows and uses his intelligence and feet to keep plays alive. Average arm strength leads to him taking risks, especially when his mechanics break down. He is still developing his reads and too often gets locked in on top guy.
Alexander Mattison (running back, 5-11, 215). After a junior season where he ran for 1,415-yards, Mattison is contemplating entering the draft. With at least 27 receptions in each of the past two seasons, he will have his suitors, if only for a third-down back role.
David Moa (defensive lineman, 6-2, 279) won’t play in this game because of a calf injury that ended his season in October. He may receive a hardship waiver that would allow him to have a 6th year at Boise State via a medical redshirt, if not he will need a strong offseason to be considered in the NFL.
Kekoa Nawahine (safety, 6-0, 205). The junior free safety is probably a name to keep in mind for next season’s draft.
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