Heading into the 2014 offseason, the Detroit Lions had plenty of positional needs, particularly on defense. So far throughout free agency, the Lions have signed Golden Tate to fill the void at the No. 2 receiver position, Brandon Pettigrew (re-signed), James Ihedigbo and Cassius Vaughn to name a few players. Most recently, the Lions re-signed cornerback Rashean Mathis to a one-year deal today.
With Mathis’ re-signing, along with bringing in Vaughn to go along with Chris Houston, Darius Slay and Bill Bentley, the Lions have made it evident that they are going to put their trust in this group of cornerbacks. With that being said, the team is unlikely to draft a cornerback with the No. 10 pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, and speculation has it that the Lions are willing to move up in order to get an elite prospect. Two prospects that the Lions have their eye on are Sammy Watkins and Jadeveon Clowney.
At this point, it is no secret that the Lions have interest in Watkins. They hosted him on a visit last week and were present during his pro day at Clemson where GM Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Caldwell had dinner with him and his family. The team has expressed interest in trading up — most likely into the top five — to get him in order to assemble what could be quite possibly one of the most explosive offenses the NFL has ever seen.
Other teams have expressed interest in Watkins, though, including the St. Louis Rams, who hold the No. 2 pick. The Rams are hosting Watkins on a visit today, and he is scheduled to workout for the team later in the week. They have a need at wide receiver and are looking to add weapons to help out quarterback Sam Bradford. St. Louis could very well be a landing spot for Watkins.
While Watkins would be a great addition to an already electric offense, the Lions are in dire need of a defense that can stop someone. As I mentioned earlier, it seems as though they have already placed their faith in the secondary that is in place with the re-signing of Mathis. Their starting secondary as of now would be Mathis, Houston, Ihedigbo and Glover Quin.
If the Lions aren’t willing to draft a cornerback at No. 10 and are still wanting to move up in the first round, they should go for all of the marbles and go after Clowney. He is, after all, what scouts are calling a “once in a lifetime” prospect and a “freak”. His addition to an already formidable defensive line would give the Lions one of, if not the best defensive front in all of football. While the secondary wouldn’t be much improved, they wouldn’t have to be with a pass rush that the Lions could potentially have.
NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport reported today that the Lions are slated to bring in Clowney for a visit and used the hashtag “moving up?”.
Although he has already told teams that he will not participate in any more workouts, the idea of Clowney visiting the Lions is very intriguing and shows that the team is expressing interest.
If the Houston Texans decide that they want to take Clowney No. 1 overall, the Lions could still get themselves an elite prospect in Khalil Mack within the top five. Mack is an explosive pass rusher and is all but guaranteed to go within the top five picks. He has not scheduled to visit with the Lions yet, but at this point, nothing can be counted out.
It will be very interesting to see what the Lions will do come draft day. It appears as though all options are open at this point.