Whether you feel the Detroit Lions are a good team or a bad team, we can all agree there are major holes that need to be filled on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football if the Lions truly want to contend for a Super Bowl.
The best long-term solution to filling such holes is via the NFL Draft.
For the purpose of this piece, we will assume the Lions will be drafting somewhere between 12-16 in the 2018 NFL Draft. So, if you are expecting to see a player like RB Saquan Barkley out of Penn State or DE Bradley Chubb out of N.C. State on this list, you will be disappointed.
Obviously, things can change between now and the draft but knowing what we know now, here is a list of current college players that should be on the Detroit Lions draft radar.
Austin Bryant (DE) – Clemson
This may come as a shock to some of you, but the Detroit Lions SHOULD NOT bring back DE Ezekiel Ansah when his contract is up at the end of this season. It has nothing to do with the fact that I still believe Ziggy can be a very good NFL pass rusher, it’s just that paying a defensive end what he will demand can cripple a team financially.
That being said, Austin Bryant out of Clemson was a beast this season and he would come in and start immediately for the Lions in 2018. The only question will be, whether or not the Clemson DE improves his stock so much that he finds himself getting drafted before the Lions pick.
Clelin Ferrell (DE) – Clemson
Once again, if the Lions listen to me and let Ansah walk, they will be in desperate need of an edge rusher. Clelin Ferrell has been outstanding for Clemson this season and at 6-2, 265 pounds, he could be the perfect fit for the Lions defense.
Though Ferrell is only a redshirt sophomore, signs point to him leaving for the NFL and I would not be surprised at all to see him wearing the Honolulu blue in 2018.
Maurice Hurst (DL) – Michigan
There is no way this list would be complete without mentioning defensive lineman Maurice Hurst out of the University of Michigan. In 2016 he was outstanding for the Wolverines, racking up 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. In 2017, he raised his game to yet another level and more often than not, he has looked like a man amongst boys.
If the Lions do select near the middle of the 1st round of the 2018 draft, you can bet your last dollar that general manager Bob Quinn will give Hurst a long, hard look.