With the 2014 NFL Draft now in the books, it’s undrafted free agent season.
Here are the players the Lions have signed following the draft and a brief breakdown of their chances to stick. Last year the Lions struck gold with LaAdrian Waddle and Joseph Fauria. Who will make it this year?
Gabe Lynn, CB, Oklahoma:
Excited to be apart of the Detroit Lions! Definitely thankful for the opportunity!
— Gabriel Lynn (@Gabelynn9) May 10, 2014
Lynn is a long corner, which holds appeal to the Lions. He flashed some skills at times, though he’s pretty stiff in the hips. The 4.58 he ran in the 40 at his pro day is evident from his on-field play. He’s got decent bulk and could make the transition to safety. He played opposite Aaron Colvin and saw a lot of balls thrown his way in 2013. Came down with 4 INTs, the only ones of his Sooners career. Nine career PDs.
Louisiana Lafayette TE Jacob Maxwell:
RT @RavensInsider: Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Jacob Maxwell to the Detroit Lions, according to a source
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) May 10, 2014
I did not personally scout Maxwell, so all of this is from other sources. I did see him play twice, including in person in 2012, but he did not make my notes.
From the National Football Post:
The 6-foot-4, 249-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout and had a 38.5-inch vertical leap with a 10-7 broad jump.
He caught 12 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns last season
From former ULL player Emory Hunt:
@JeffRisdon – He's a terrific blocker with decent hands.. Think Spaeth
— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) May 10, 2014
James Franklin, QB, Missouri
Confirming what @RavensInsider just tweeted, Lions have signed Missouri QB James Franklin as a UDFA
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 10, 2014
This is the mobile, scrambling, improvisational quarterback to fill that role in practices that the Lions have sorely lacked. That’s probably too narrow of an assessment, but that figures to be his primary role.
Franklin was having a monster of a year for the Tigers, throwing 19 TDs and completing over 62% of his passes, while also rushing for over 500 yards and four TDs before suffering a shoulder injury. He’s noted for his leadership and fearlessness.
He has a decent arm, though a wonky delivery often takes away from his velocity. If he can tighten up his mechanics and quicken his release, he should knock Kellen Moore off the roster.
Jerome Couplin, S, William & Mary
William and Mary S Jerome Couplin is signing with the #Lions as a UDFA. Brought him in for a visit.
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 10, 2014
FCS-level tackling machine in a strong conference at that level. He’s 6’2″ and a very solid 215, ran a 4.5 flat at his pro day in freezing drizzle (thanks Chiefsspin!)
The only game of his I saw was against Richmond, where he was all over the field. He definitely plays to his timed speed. Very quick to react to the ball, though doesn’t have great instincts. He’s got higher upside than Cooper Taylor, who went to the Giants from Richmond a year ago.
Cornelius Lucas, OT, Kansas State
Proud to be a Detroit Lion! Can't wait to leave tomorrow and get back to playing football!
— Cornelius Lucas (@larry_lovestein) May 10, 2014
Giant 6’8″ right tackle prospect with the longest wingspan in the draft at over 36″. He could not work out for teams after suffering a stress fracture in his foot but was recently cleared.
Here are some game notes from the 2012 contest against West Virginia.
Here’s a lengthy and trustworthy scouting report on Lucas from Alex Dunlap at Bleacher Report
Lucas faces an uphill battle, as the Lions are set with Riley Reiff, LaAdrian Waddle and Corey Hilliard at tackle and also brought in JB Shugarts as a free agent.
Edit–this indicates Lucas has a fighting chance:
Kansas State offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas got a $20,000 signing bonus from the Detroit Lions, according to a league source
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) May 11, 2014
Andrew Peacock, WR, Appalachian State
App State WR Andrew Peacock to the #Lions
— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) May 11, 2014
Sticky-handed FCS receiver with great explosive metrics (38″ vertical, 10′ broad jump, 7.00 3-cone) but plays at one speed and does not have great long speed. Will need to play in the slot, as he’s just 5’9″ and is much more quick than fast. Real longshot after the team drafted TJ Jones and already has Ryan Broyles and Golden Tate to play in the slot.
Mohammed Seisay, CB, Nebraska
Thankful for this opportunity next stop Detroit!
— Mohammed Seisay (@SmooveSeisay) May 11, 2014
Big, well-built corner who was more physical than more heralded teammate Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Launched his draft profile with a truly astonishing pro day workout, where all of his numbers except the 40 would have been the best-in-show at the Combine. Here’s a video of his workout:
A scout from another team had his time as 4.49, which is more indicative of his on-field speed.
He barely played for the Cornhuskers, as he was their 4th corner most of the season. Hard to formulate a scouting evaluation from that, but it says a lot that he was the 4th CB at Nebraska despite all those truly impressive physical attributes.
A.J. Dalton, G, Robert Morris
— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) May 11, 2014
I’ve never heard of Dalton. Here’s his profile page from NFL Draft Scout. Now you know as much as I do.
Greg Hickman, DT, FIU
— FIUSM Sports (@FIUSMSports) May 11, 2014
Hickman is an eyebrow raising signee, in that it’s difficult to see what the Lions saw in him. He’s a 6’0″, 280 pound tackle who netted just 3 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2013. He didn’t demonstrate great athleticism at FIU’s pro day. Hickman wasn’t listed in any draft guide, including some that charted over 1,000 prospects.
Chad Abram, FB, Florida State
— TomahawkNation.com (@TomahawkNation) May 11, 2014
Abram gives the Lions a second option at fullback behind Jed Collins. He’s an explosive athlete who went to Florida State as a safety. He embraced the change, even adopting the old-school neck roll to augment his thumping style. Abram is a punishing lead blocker who stays engaged and did a decent job picking up pass rushers coming at Jameis Winston. He could make the roster if he thrives on special teams, but making the practice squad is a more realistic goal.
Isaiah Newsome, S, UL-Monroe
We are learning that Isaiah Newsome the Free Safety has landed a deal with the Detroit Lions
— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) May 12, 2014
He’s best-known for his highlight-reel performance against Texas State, where he ran back two INTs for TDs, both over 70 yards. But where Newsome caught my attention in games I saw (including vs. my alma mater Ohio in the AdvoCare Bowl in 2012) is how well he plays in the red zone. He’s very aggressive, but does so in a controlled manner so that he isn’t burned easily.
That makes sense, because the shorter field negates his biggest weakness, which is long speed and range. He’s only an average athlete, and at just 5’11″ it’s a real hindrance. The WarHawks played a 3-3-5, and Newsome was often the flex corner/safety. Hits well for his size, but also generally wraps well and gets the man to the ground.
If he can carve himself a niche on special teams, he could stick on the practice squad. The more athletic Couplin offers a lot higher ceiling among the UDFA safeties though.