Other than the wideout position, if there’s one spot on the Detroit Lions that could stand a major upgrade it’s the spot of linebacker. There’s been a talent drain from the roster and through the last few seasons, the team hasn’t been able to improve
The good news for the Lions is there should be plenty of options for the team to improve their lot at the position in the coming draft. Even if the Lions don’t elect to pick up someone like Micah Parsons early on, the team can still score with a major difference maker further down the board.
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What linebackers represent the best fits for the Lions this year? Here’s a look at some names the team should consider to fill some of their needs at the position.
Chazz Surratt, North Carolina
While there might not be a big-time player the team would want to gamble on early, nabbing a solid talent like Surratt a bi further down the board could be the perfect way to address one of the biggest needs on the team this offseason. Surratt is a pure athlete that has great mobility given his days as a former quarterback. He can be a solid pursuit player for the Lions and someone that a confident defensive staff can mold into one of the next greats at the position. Some of Surratt’s skills are not teachable, which lends to the notion that he could become a great linebacker with time and honing.
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Nick Bolton, Missouri
A potential solid fit in the second-round for the Lions, Bolton is a balanced player who is solid against both the run and the pass and has cut his teeth in the tough SEC. In his career with the Tigers, Bolton was a tackling machine with 220 stops, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions and 17 tackles for-loss. He also has a defensive touchdown in his career proving how versatile he is. Bolton is a sneaky good fit for the Lions in terms of a player who can bring some instant playmaking to the defense at a key spot.
Jamin Davis, Kentucky
Another player on the surge is Davis, a Wildcat who has been a very productive player during his time in the SEC just like Bolton. Davis is beginning to move up the draft board more than a bit himself, but could still be a sensible second-round option to help fix the Lions’ defense. Davis has put up 144 tackles and 5 interceptions and is an athletic player that could make Detroit’s defense more than a bit tougher in the second level. With 4.4 speed, Davis is rangy and the type of sideline-to-sideline threat that could help Detroit’s defense cover plenty of mistakes from the past few years.
Jabril Cox, LSU
The Lions have struggled in coverage for a long time at linebacker, and if they want to solve the need, Cox is just the kind of guy who figures to have a solution for the team. He transferred from North Dakota State but that didn’t hurt his ability to play big and have an impact. 3 career interceptions all at LSU last year show what a solid player he is against the pass. That could help him get on the radar of the coverage-needy Lions, who are always struggling at linebacker against the run, but lately more so the pass. Cox could help the team if he was the pick a little way down the board.
Zaven Collins, Tulsa
At 6-5, Collins has the kind of size that is rarely seen at linebacker, but if it is anyone who would know how to coach that skill up, it could be Aaron Glenn and the Lions. Collins is getting some first-round buzz, so he might be long gone by the time the Lions pick, but that doesn’t change the fact that he could be an elite option for the team. Collins has the kind of size to make life miserable on opposing quarterbacks as well as running backs. He’s been a statistical monster as well, with 236 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 5 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. The world is waking up to what a force Collins is, and he should be on the radar of the Lions if his draft rise doesn’t take him out of being a second-round pick.