2013 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions Looking at Small School Cornerback

By Chris Katje
Mike DiNoro-USA Today Sports

It’s no secret that the Detroit Lions lack depth at the cornerback position. The team re-signed veteran Chris Houston to solidify one cornerback for the 2013 NFL season. However, the team will be auditioning several unproven young cornerbacks for the other spot and backup roles. The team might be looking to the 2013 NFL Draft to make that battle more interesting.

A player on the Lions’ radar is Rashaan Melvin. Playing out of Northern Illinois University, Melvin came from a small MAC school. However, as a member of the BCS busting Northern Illinois team, Melvin saw his draft stock rise on national television

The Lions hosted Melvin with one of their thirty allotted pre-draft visits. At 6’2” tall, Melvin would continue the trend of Lions drafting tall cornerbacks to matchup with receivers. Melvin had a stellar career with Northern Illinois and could compete for a spot on the Lions roster.

In the 2012 NCAA Football season, Melvin had 55 tackles and one interception. Melvin also recorded 10 tackles and one forced fumble during the Orange Bowl against Florida State University. Melvin leaves Northern Illinois after setting the record for passes defended in a single season (17), which he accomplished in 2012. In 2011, Melvin had 78 tackles, nine passes defended and three interceptions. During the 2010 season, Melvin had 39 tackles and two interceptions, despite limited playing time.

In high school, Melvin was a wide receiver and defensive back. During his senior season, he caught 58 passes for 585 yards. On the other side of the ball, Melvin had 70 tackles and eight interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns.

While there is talk of the Lions taking a cornerback from a large school with the number five overall pick, the Lions will likely take an offensive lineman or defensive end. That will leave the Lions with their strategy from the 2012 NFL Draft of taking good cornerbacks from small schools. In the 2012 draft, the Lions took Bill Bentley (Louisiana-Lafayette), Chris Greenwood (Albion), and Jonte Green (New Mexico State).

Melvin was part of a defensive squad that allowed only 19.9 points per game, which ranked 21st in the NCAA. Melvin helped his team to an impressive 12-2 record and put Northern Illinois in the BCS hunt for much of the season. The Lions could be lucky if Melvin falls into their lap in the second or third round.

Chris Katje is the featured Detroit Lions writer for Rant Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter.


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