As the second round of the MSE Lions draft madness rolls on, the matchups get tougher, and your votes count more. Today’s matchup features a playmaker for Matt Patricia’s defense and a new pass catcher for Matthew Stafford. Which one makes the most sense at 8? Well, that’s where you come in. Read my case for each guy below, then head to our @MSELions Twitter account to make your pick! Check back with us daily for each matchup leading up to the week of the draft!
#1 Seed: Devin White LB LSU
Incredibly athletic and uber productive. White was a monster in the middle for the Tigers where he used his elite athleticism and speed to track down ball carriers. White is a former running back, and it shows in the way he plays the linebacker position. As a junior at LSU, he notched 123 tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks and three forced fumbles. He and Jarrad Davis would form one of the fastest and most athletic linebacker duos in the NFL.
Size. Coming in at 6’ 237lbs, White is much smaller than you’d like in an off-ball linebacker. Will he be able to continue to make up for that with his elite athleticism at the NFL level? White also plays the game very similarly to the Lions Jarrad Davis. He can be slow to diagnose the play resulting in late timing to the ball. Would their similar skill sets play well alongside each other?
#5 Seed: Noah Fant TE Iowa
Measuring at 6’4” 249lbs, Fant is an elite athlete with perfect size. Averaging almost one touchdown for every four receptions, he would fit the bill as a playmaker in the Lions offense and compliment the skill set of the recently signed Jesse James. With the ability to move all around the offense, Fant would be a matchup nightmare alongside Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. His size and vertical jump also project well as a red zone threat at the NFL level.
Fant has often been compared to a very polarizing player among Lions fans, former tenth overall pick Eric Ebron. While Fant is an even better athlete, both struggled a bit with concentration drops. Fant is also a project when it comes to his ability as a blocker. He has shown the technique necessary to be an effective blocker, but the tenacity isn’t always there.
Both players project as immediate contributors to the Lions but are not without their flaws. Devin White is more similar to Jarrad David than he is a compliment to him. Ideally, the Lions could use an off-ball linebacker that can diagnose plays quickly. While Fant would be a dynamic playmaker but lack the immediate ability to contribute as a blocker. Given the positional value, I would take White over Fant. With one of the better defensive lines in the NFL in front of them, White and Davis would be free to roam and attack opposing offenses.
You’ve heard the arguments now vote in our poll!