Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
It’s never too early to ponder what the Lions might do in next May’s draft. If you find yourself with nothing to do on Saturday, or want to DVR a game or two and check out guys that fit the Lions’ profile.
CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama vs. Texas A&M
Mosley is a surefire first round pick, and if the Lions want to bolster that relatively weak position, Mosley makes a lot of sense. Apart from the fact the Lions already have a CJ Mosley on the roster, the tough Bama backer is an ideal fit. Watch him as he uses his agility and instincts to spy on Johnny Manziel. Mosley is very fluid in coverage and he also understands when to peel off one target and head for another. The Aggies do a lot of inside/out running on draws and misdirections with RB Ben Malena and Manziel on keepers. That is a stern test for linebackers, as both those players are very elusive and quick. I have a strong feeling the Tide defense is going to execute some serious payback on Johnny Football this Saturday, and CJ Mosley will be a big part of that. From what I’ve seen so far, he is far and away the best “traditional” linebacking prospect in the country. The game airs on CBS at 3:30 EDT Saturday.
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State vs. Central Florida
Our own Darren Page broke down Robinson over the summer, noting that the Nittany Lions wideout needed to play with more strength. In admittedly casual viewing of Penn State so far this year, I’ve seen more assertiveness and strength to his game. UCF has allowed just 7 points in two games this year. Granted those opponents are cupcakes Akron and Florida International, but they have a very active secondary with good size across the board. Should Robinson continue to trend upward he could be a 3rd or 4th round option, possibly a little higher if he times well. You can find this one is on the Big Ten Network at 6 EDT.
Boseko Lokombo, OLB, Oregon vs. Tennessee
He got overshadowed by Dion Jordan and Kiko Alonso last year, but Lokombo is the sort of background player that facilitates greatness from others. I’ve watched him several times and I’m always impressed with his ability to anticipate where the ball is going and how smartly he gets there. He’s a good-not-great athlete with very good closing burst. I see some Devonte Holloman, a favorite draft sleeper of mine in 2013, in the lanky, lightweight Lokombo. The Canadian native can blitz, cover, and get to the run outside the tackle box. He won’t be a star but could be an effective starter or nickel LB for a long time. Right now I see him as a 3rd or 4th round option, though he could be available later than that due to concerns about his lack of bulk at 6’3” and a listed weight of 229 that might be generous. This is an ABC/ESPN flex game that starts at 3:30 EDT.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss vs. Texas
This is another matchup that Darren Page chronicled from last year. Moncrief has excellent size at 6’2” and 225, and his physicality evokes some comparison to a healthy young Anquan Boldin. He will once again square off against a legit NFL talent in Quandre Diggs and could see some of wildly inconsistent CB Carrington Byndom as well. Texas fired Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz after last Saturday’s inept performance against BYU, replacing him with former Michigan DC Greg Robinson. Look for a more aggressive presence by the Longhorns, and it will be incumbent upon Moncrief to show he can get open against the more physical style. His skills would blend nicely across from Calvin Johnson. Watch how quickly he can get into and out of breaks, which is likely to be the determining factor on his draft stock. He could go in the early second round or slide as far as the top of the fourth in my early guesstimation. The game airs on the Longhorn Network and it’s a Matt Millen call, so watch it on mute unless you enjoy hearing his clueless analysis.
Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue vs. Notre Dame
Allen is what some folks like to refer to as a “gamer”. He’s undersized at 5’9” but feisty as a hyena guarding its carrion. Allen bears some similarity to Bill Bentley except he projects as an outside corner in the NFL because he lacks great lateral quickness. He’s one of the best, most physical press corners in this draft class despite his diminutive stature. Allen figures to match up with Irish WR TJ Jones, who is a late-round prospect in his own right. If you could put Allen’s game into a healthy Chris Greenwood’s body, you’d have a perennial Pro Bowl corner. Allen looks like a 6th or 7th round pick in 2014 who can stick because of his special teams ability. This is the primetime game on ABC for those of us in the Midwest.