The Detroit Lions are sitting on the sidelines as interested observers as the Clemson Tigers get set to battle the LSU Tigers for the national title on Monday night.
As they watch, the Lions will have their eyes on the future, and will be looking to see which college players in the game could help them the most as they get set to tackle the 2020 NFL Draft in a few months.
In the last college football game of the year, there will be multiple players who are difference makers that the Lions could target in the upcoming draft. So which top names make the most sense for the team that folks should be watching?
Here’s a look at pairing down the top names to watch with the Lions in mind on Monday night.
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
Simmons might be the best player in the game not named Joe Burrow for the Lions to watch. He’s a fluid, athletic linebacker and a guy who theoretically could transition to safety as well or play in multiple roles on a defense. Simmons is thought to be a top 10 selection, but with another big night on the big stage, could work his way into the discussion for a team like the Lions who have a top selection. If Simmons proves he can do plenty of things and continues to show out, he could be a player that is strongly considered by Detroit.
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Lions need help in their defensive backfield in a major way, and Fulton is a guy who has been linked to them in plenty of mocks before. Is he a first round talent? That’s left to be seen and debated during the upcoming NFL Combine. Even such, many see Fulton as a player who should go safely within the top 10. As a result, the Lions will be getting a close look. Though Detroit could look at Jeffrey Okudah as a perfect fit, Fulton will be a player worth comparing him against for backfield depth. Grant Delpit could also merit consideration, but the Lions have added to the safety position in recent years, making him more of a long shot.
Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Detroit’s ground game looked much improved in 2019 in the limited time the team had Kerryon Johnson. While Bo Scarbrough might be a building block, the Lions should still look to add some reinforcements, and a player like Etienne could be a perfect solution. He figures to be an early pick, but if he was around early in the second round for Detroit, that could be a huge win for the team’s offense, which needs to keep the momentum on the ground.
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
The Lions need edge rushers in a big way, and short of being able to land Chase Young, Chaisson could be the best prospect the Lions could get their hands on to rush the passer in this draft. In three years, he’s collected 90 tackles and 9 sacks, saving his best season for 2019. At 6-4, Chaisson is a lanky rusher who can win with athleticism up front. The Lions need help rushing the passer, and Chaisson will be a guy who will get plenty of eyeballs from the team as a result of this.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
There are a number of solid wideouts to watch in this game not the least of which is Clemson’s Tee Higgins, but Jefferson figures to be a name that could skyrocket in coming months. He had a fantastic game in the semifinals against Oklahoma and wants to follow that up with a big night in the title game. The Lions don’t need a wide receiver, but in round two, could be faced with deciding to take the best player over need. Someone like Jefferson could make sense given the key decisions the Lions will be faced with at wideout in the next few seasons. If he explodes, he might well be gone by the time Detroit could take him.
READ NEXT: Writer Predicts Lions Free Agency Targets