DETROIT – The Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFL are in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Combine. The combine is the start of the drive to the NFL Draft in April -- full of medical tests, interviews and everyone’s favorite: the workouts.
There are some great players available for the Lions to take with the third overall pick and throughout the draft. For fans, the combine is a way to get introduced to them.
Here are some things for Lions fans to watch during the combine.
The QB’s are the most watched and talked about group at the Combine. Lions fans should be interested in seeing how the QBs look because the Lions might pick one of them. If they don’t, another team might trade with the Lions to pick a QB.
Tua Tagovailoa won’t be working out. He did go through medical tests which found he’s making good progress recovering from a hip injury.
Expected number one pick Joe Burrow won’t be working out either.
So, the attention will turn to Justin Herbert and Jordan Love. Herbert is expected to go in the top 10 and Love could make his way there too if he really impresses during the draft process.
Other QBs to watch: Jake Fromm, Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason. The QBs work out on Thursday.
Okudah has been one of the names consistently connected to the Lions at the third overall pick. It makes sense: pairing Okudah with Darius Slay would give them two of the most talented corners in the NFL. And if Slay were to leave or get traded, then the Lions would still have Okudah there to help replace him. Okudah will work out Sunday.
Defensive line prospects
Defensive line is the Lions biggest need. There are three big prospects the Lions could take with their first pick: Chase Young, Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw.
We won’t be watching Chase Young or Javon Kinlaw work out as they’ve both said they won’t go through combine drills. So, keep an eye on Derrick Brown. He could be the Lions pick at third overall or a couple spots lower if the Lions trade back. It’s more likely the Lions address the need at defensive tackle in the draft after the release of Snacks Harrison.
Outside of Young, there’s a group of edge rushers to watch for that could be picked in the second round or later. They include Michigan’s Josh Uche, Wisconsin’s Zack Baun and Utah’s Bradlee Anae. The Lions staff knows those players well as all three played in the Senior Bowl.
The defensive line prospects work out Saturday.
Simmons is one of the more interesting possibilities for the Lions. He’s versatile, playing as a linebacker and safety in college. Versatility is a key part of playing in Matt Patricia’s defense, making Simmons a real candidate for the Lions to pick at 3 or if they trade back to 5-7, if he’s still there. Simmons and the linebackers will work out Saturday.
This is shaping up to be the deepest receiver draft in recent history. While the Lions are bringing Danny Amendola back on another one year-deal they could be looking to add a receiver as Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are entering the final year of their contracts. Receivers work out Thursday.
Watch for the local college players trying to up their draft stock.
Michigan State: Joe Bachie, Brian Lewerke, Josiah Scott, Darrell Stewart, Cody White, Kenny Willekes, Raequan Williams
Michigan: Ben Bredeson, Lavert Hill, Sean McKeon, Josh Metellus, Mike Onwenu, Shea Patterson, Cesar Ruiz, Jon Runyan, Josh Uche
WMU: LeVante Bellamy
Watch the rumors
Lastly, watch for all the rumors coming out of this week. While no one can tell what’s really going to happen in the draft, it’s worth speculating and to see what people around the league are talking about.
Also, look for free agency and trade rumors, too. Free agency starts in a couple of weeks and the Lions have plenty of money to spend like they did last year. There’s also been increased talk about what’s going to happen with Darius Slay, so look out for news about him.