Justin Rogers and John Niyo break down the Lions’ upcoming matchup with the Dolphins.
Justin Rogers, The Detroit News
Allen Park — Each Saturday during the college football season, we’ll highlight five prospects with locally-televised matchups who could be a fit for the Detroit Lions in the 2019 NFL Draft, based on projected needs.
Every week, the list will aim to highlight early-, mid- and late-round prospects. This will give you a chance to watch the players performing live, instead of playing catch-up in the weeks before the draft.
Devin Bush, OLB, Michigan (No. 10)
No. 5 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State, noon, Fox
A year ago, Bush would have made little sense for the Lions, but then the photos of his offseason body transformation circulated and now you can see a fit. He’s listed at 233 pounds, but that’s probably light.
The muscle-bound junior has been a playmaking machine for the Wolverines, and despite the weight gain, has maintained his sideline-to-sideline coverage range. He’s also flashed some pass-rush ability as a blitzer.
Bush is still best-suited for a weakside role, one that’s currently occupied by a combination of Christian Jones and Jalen Reeves-Maybin in Detroit.
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma (No. 5)
No. 9 Oklahoma at TCU, noon, ABC
The Lions are likely going to need a slot receiver and Brown is one of the nation’s top playmakers. And let’s be honest, it would be appropriate to replace a guy nicknamed Showtime with one dubbed Hollywood.
The slender Sooner will need to add some weight to his frame, to withstand the rigors of the professional ranks, but there’s little denying his ability to make defenses pay by getting deep.
Brown caught seven touchdowns last season and already matched that total this year, while averaging better than 20 yards per reception.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama (No. 92)
No. 1 Alabama at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., CBS
We could feature a different Alabama defender every week and it wouldn’t feel out of place. The Tide have a roster filled with draftable talent and Williams has surged to the front of the line.
Coming off a dominant performance last week — seven tackles, two for a loss and a sack — the powerful interior lineman is solidifying his first-round stock. Last week, one prominent national analyst listed him as the No. 2 overall player in the class.
Williams is quick and powerful. The downside is his size. He’s a bit on the smaller size for his position, listed at 285 pounds, but the Lions could work him as an inside-outside option, similarly to the way they utilize his former teammate, Da’Shawn Hand.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson No. 99
No. 17 NC State at No. 3 Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Someone has to replace Ziggy Ansah and Ferrell fits the bill if he’s on the board wherever the Lions end up selecting in the first round. Ferrell has the right skill set, a healthy combination of power and quickness, matched with the long frame the Lions covet on the edges.
Ferrell tallied 9.5 sacks last season and is on pace to smash that personal best, dropping opposing quarterbacks in the backfield six times through six games.
Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss (No. 9)
Auburn at Ole Miss, noon, ESPN
If you were writing a piece of fiction about a Mississippi football player, I’d contend you couldn’t come up with a better name than Dawson Knox.
A former walk-on and high school quarterback, Knox has gone from a gangly 215-pounder to a viable early-round prospect at tight end. He was also a track star at high school and maintained that athleticism, which will likely turn heads at the combine.
Knox only has seven catches this year, but he’s averaging an impressive 23.7 yards on those grabs. Blocking is still a work in progress and may never be his forte, but Detroit desperately could use a playmaking pass-catcher at the position.