The Detroit Lions have some obvious players they could target to fill some major needs, and they figure to be in play for some of the bigger names the NFL Draft can offer early on.
Still, though, most understand that teams are built not only with the early selections but by some of the later ones as well. They can build the depth of teams and give them critical players to rely on in critical spots. The Lions need to start scoring some more guys who are unexpected contributors, and have done a decent job to find some in the middle and late rounds in the last few years.
So who could be this year’s version of Kenny Golladay? Here’s a look at some names that aren’t large, but which could end up becoming big for a team like Detroit.
Bradlee Anae, Edge, Utah
Detroit needs some help on the edge, and Anae is an interesting option for the team when it comes to an aggressive player off the edge. The Utah product has put up a solid 29.5 sacks, 131 tackles and 5 forced fumbles in his career and is a hidden gem that could fit Detroit’s scheme perfectly. He figures to be a middle round selection or perhaps come off the board a bit earlier. The Lions might have to take a risk selecting this player earlier in order to see him to make a big impact, and Anae could do that for the team’s needy pass rush.
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
An underrated option who impressed in the lead in to the NFL Combine during workouts, Duvernay has been a big play machine at Texas and has all the tools to be one of the most underrated yet impressive wideouts in the league. Duvernay showed up well during the Senior Bowl and will hope his solid predraft work was enough to get him noticed. The Lions should be very interested in what he does late, as he is an impact maker that could be had later on in the draft in 2020. Detroit probably doesn’t need a wideout early, but Duvernay could be a hidden gem that gets the team a big time developmental weapon to rely on.
Benito Jones, DL, Ole Miss
With Damon Harrison now gone, the Lions need some beef on the interior. Who better to provide it than Jones, a thick nose tackle from Ole Miss? At 329 pounds, there are few players who match his girth and his ability to play fast and agile in the trenches. Jones might be long gone by late in the draft, but if the Lions could scoop him up later on and solve their need for some depth in the trenches, it would be a significant move for the defense, which needs a young plugger in the middle. Could Jones become Matt Patricia’s Vince Wilfork in Detroit? With Danny Shelton now in the mix, it isn’t as huge a need, but Jones is a guy who could quietly be excellent in a rotation.
Zack Moss, RB, Utah
A hamstring injury didn’t stop Moss from having a solid NFL Combine. A thick runner, Moss harkens back memories of Marshawn Lynch, and that’s something which should get the attention of Bevell and Detroit’s offensive staff as they need a tough, durable complement to Kerryon Johnson. Moss would fit that bill, and he can do plenty of damage catching and running with the ball as well, making him a solid all-purpose back for the Lions to remember, and a guy who could be much better than the experts are predicting at this point, especially if he is cleared from injury.
Michael Warren, RB, Cincinnati
Depth at running back is a must, and Detroit could still sign a player in free agency or allocate a much bigger draft resource. Whether they do or not could determine how early they select a back. Warren is an interesting choice as a combination of speed and power as well as solid footwork if the team chooses to address the need later. In his Bearcats career, he rushed for 34 touchdowns and could be an intriguing sleeper that the Lions manage to get huge results out of late. Not the biggest name by any means, but a potential steal in the making.