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NFL Detroit Lions

Senior Bowl: 7 Players Detroit Lions Should Draft

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Detroit Lions at 2013 Senior Bowl

Detroit Lions at 2013 Senior Bowl
USA TODAY Sports-John David Mercer

One of the few advantages of having such a horrible record in the NFL is an invitation to coach one of the squads at the Senior Bowl. The 2012 Senior Bowl will feature the coaching staffs of the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions squaring off against each other. The Lions will coach the South Squad in the game that airs Saturday on the NFL Network.

The Lions got an inside up close and personal look at all 53 prospects involved in the Senior Bowl. The Raiders and Lions got to see player’s work ethic, practice qualities, and other draftable assets that other teams didn’t have the privilege of seeing.

In the 2012 Senior Bowl, the Redskins coaches and Vikings coaches met. The game was valuable for both squads. The Redskins surprised at the draft taking running back Alfred Morris, who ended up having a pretty good season in Washington. The Vikings reached and took Harrison Smith with the 29th overall selection. Smith started all 16 games for Minnesota and had two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Back in 2010, the Lions coached the Senior Bowl after a dismal 2009 season. In that game the Lions saw first hand the speed of running back Joique Bell. When Bell went undrafted, the Lions eventually made the move and now utilize the small school back as their second running back and out of the backfield receiver.

The Lions will draft fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. In the second round, the Lions will have the 36th overall pick. The third round (68th overall) will give the Lions their third pick in the first 70 spots of the draft. In these three rounds the Lions need to improve their offensive and defensive lines and also worry about their secondary. However the Lions are also content taking the best available including speedy running backs and wide receivers.

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Johnathan Cyprien

Johnathan Cyprien
USA TODAY Sports-Robert Mayer

Jonathan Cyprien

Florida International

Safety

Cyprien has become familiar with at least one member of the Detroit Lions. Current safety Louis Delmas is mentoring Cyprien due to their alma mater connection. Both players attended North Miami Beach High School. Cyprien continues to impress during Senior Bowl practices as he reads coverage well and shuts down playmakers. Cyprien is ranked as one of the top 15 safeties in the 2013 NFL Draft and could be a good option for the Lions in the fifth round if available.

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Will Davis

Will Davis
USA TODAY Sports-John David Mercer

Will Davis

Utah State

CB

The Detroit Lions waited until the late rounds in the 2012 NFL Draft to take cornerbacks from small schools. The team could be doing a similar thing in 2013 with other positions of need and the possibility of re-signing Chris Houston. Davis is six foot and has the ability to intercept the ball well. In fact in the 2012 season, Davis had interceptions in five straight games for Utah State.

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Ezekiel Ansah

Ezekiel Ansah
USA TODAY Sports-Josh D. Weiss

Ezekiel Ansah

BYU

DE

The Lions coaches will see plenty of Ansah on the South Squad. The BYU star has seen his draft stock decrease during the first workouts of the Senior Bowl. Many project Ansah to go in the mid first round, but he might have fallen out of the first with poor drills. The Lions could end up trading up to get Ansah or see him available in the second round. The Lions will likely take either a cornerback or defensive end at the #5 overall position. With a possible loss of Cliff Avril, defensive end is becoming a huge need. Ansah still looks incredibly good considering he didn’t start playing football until 2010.

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Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams
USA TODAY Sports-Andrew Weber

Brandon Williams

Missouri Southern

DT

Defensive tackle is one of the Lions long term needs as it decides what to do with free agent Corey Williams. The Lions do have a great combination of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but it will need more depth going forward. Williams comes from a Division 2 school, but is the reigning D2 defensive player of the year. In 11 2012 games, Williams had 8.5 sacks. Despite being from a small school, Williams has impressed scouts with his movement at 341 pounds. The Lions could consider taking Williams in the fifth round.

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Desmond Trufant

Desmond Trufant
USA TODAY Sports-James Snook

Desmond Trufant

Washington

CB

Trufant, the younger brother of NFLers Marcus and Isaiah, is the best cornerback in the Senior Bowl. Trufant earned second team All-American honors in 2012. In four seasons at Washington, Trufant has 151 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, five fumbles recovered and six interceptions. Trufant was a standout long jumper and triple jumper in high school earning state places of 11th and 2nd respectively. Trufant has seen his stock jump from a second round pick into first round contention. The Lions would be reaching at 5th overall. If the Lions don’t take a corner at #5, they may be able to get Trufant at #36 or trade up to ensure landing him.

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Eric Fisher

Eric Fisher
USA TODAY Sports-Andrew Weber

Eric Fisher

Central Michigan

OT

Nobody has had a better 2012 Senior Bowl performance than Fisher. The offensive tackle from the small MAC school is now considered one of the top two offensive tackles in the 2013 NFL Draft. Luke Joeckel is expected to go in the top three picks. Fisher has vaulted up draft boards thanks to the decisions by Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews to stay in college for another year. Fisher is a dominating offensive lineman with great size (6’8”, 305 lbs). The Rochester born Fisher could be a great addition to the Lions always needs improvement offensive line. With the fifth overall pick, Fisher is a real possibility.

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Denard Robinson

Denard Robinson
USA TODAY Sports-Kim Klement

Denard Robinson

Michigan

WR/RB

Robinson’s name should be familiar to many Detroit Lions fans. The dual threat quarterback enjoyed three successful seasons with the Michigan Wolverines. In 2010, Robinson threw for 2570 yards and rushed for 1702. The following season Robinson threw for 20 touchdowns and rushed for another 16. In each of the last three seasons, Robinson threw for over 1000 and rushed for over 1000 yards. Robinson’s speed has now led to his conversion as a running back or wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Lions are looking for playmakers to fill in the hole left by Jahvid Best. Robinson could be a good option for the Lions in the draft as they could use him as a running back, wide receiver, or return specialist. Detroit should not over reach with this pick though as his Senior Bowl practices have failed to impress and Robinson’s draft stock falls.