The Detroit Lions have finished their scouting and evaluations with the conclusion of the NFL combine. Plenty of players improved their draft stock through the past couple weeks and made lasting impressions.
Drafting late at No. 21 in the first round might not be a detriment or worry for the Lions. There will be a deep pool of talent around their selection that could make an immediate impact.
Plenty of teams fall in love with big name players every year, but the Lions don’t need to fall for that trap. This franchise, through their history, has always drafted the best available player in the 1st Round. Reaching for the big name doesn’t have to be in the plans. Here are three names they should avoid at all costs.
1. Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Detroit’s offense without question needs a spark, especially in the run game. They won’t get far in the NFL with a one-dimensional attack and a 30th ranked run game. Hopefully, the Lions don’t look to Christian McCaffrey to fix that issue.
McCaffrey was a human highlight reel at Stanford and one of the best players in all of college football. After breaking plenty of records at the NCAA level, he’s without a doubt one of the most intriguing options in the draft.
The Lions already have too many players who play the same style as McCaffrey. Theo Riddick inked a contract extension this past offseason and Ameer Abdullah is only in his third season. Both will return healthy after battling injuries all last season and are big features of the Lions’ offense.
Detroit doesn’t need to add another explosive scatback to their backfield. Besides, McCaffrey runs the same injury concerns playing at an undersized 6-0 200-pound frame. The Lions can’t afford to take that risk.
2. Washington WR John Ross
The talk of the combine was the record-setting 4.22 performance by John Ross in the 40-yard-dash. Speed like that will more than likely move him up many draft boards, but the Lions should steer clear if he happens to fall.
Staying away won’t be based on skill as he has the potential of becoming the next game-breaking NFL receiver. Ross had a career year catching 81 passes for 1150 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Regardless of his talent, spending a first-round pick on a wide receiver would be a major mistake. While receiver is a need, drafting one that high comes off as a luxury selection. The Lions have too many other holes they can fill at 21.
Not to mention the other starting receivers are already under expensive long-term contracts with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. Adding another to the payroll might not be the best idea.
3. Michigan DB Jabrill Peppers
This should be a no-brainer, but for that one fan thinking “maybe it could work if…” let it go.
Jabrill Peppers recently declared he wants to play in the NFL as a safety. The Lions have no need at the position with Glover Quin anchoring at free safety, along with Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew splitting time at strong safety. Not to mention, the Michigan Wolverine wouldn’t be a good fit in this defense.
Peppers might be blazing fast and athletic, but he has never truly excelled in coverage. Learning the safety position as a pro is no walk in the park, and there could be a long road ahead when it comes to his development.
Peppers only registered one turnover in his three-year collegiate career, and won’t get much help from the Lions’ pass-rush while covering. A quality defensive line is a young defensive back’s best source of help, and Detroit doesn’t have much to offer after recording the second fewest sacks last season.