Every year, the NFL Draft surprises at some juncture. Guys in late rounds become contributors and elite players. This year shouldn’t be any different. What the Lions need to do is continue their NFL Draft success and find those guys who can consistently contribute. Here are 5 guys the Lions could possibly draft that can make them a better team.
1. Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina: Carter, a guy who tore his ACL in his last season, would have probably been a first round prospect. But with that injury the Lions could definitely use a guy of his talent to help fill a huge hole at the OLB position. If Carter can fill Julian Peterson’s role – which I think he could do better – the Lions will be fine.
2. Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia: Dowling, another prospect that is falling through the cracks, seems like a guy who could start right away in the NFL. He works hard and the Lions could use a guy of his work ethic, especially in their secondary.
3. Roy Helu, RB, Nebraska: The Lions need a power running back to help take the load off of 2nd year running back Jahvid Best. Best tried to carry the load last year but ended up getting hurt. Helu is a guy who could do that for them. He averaged 5.2 YPC in his final year at Nebraska and can get the short yardage that Best probably couldn’t.
4. Ross Hossman, OLB, Ohio State: Hossman isn’t the greatest athlete and didn’t have measurables. What Hossman does is something HC Jim Schwartz loves in defensive players – effort and hard work. Hossman plays every down like it’s last and takes on blockers very well. He won’t be asked to do a lot for the Lions other than make plays he’s supposed to.
5. Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh: Pinkston is a round 2 talent that could drop if teams aren’t completely convinced with his knee injury. This could be a blessing in disguise for the Lions if they decide to wait on drafting an offensive lineman. Pinkston could be a borderline starter for the Lions and could end up being better than advertised.
Know of any players you think might surprise? Let us know.