Great Potential Awaits Detroit In Late Rounds

Second installment of Josh Liskewitz's breakdown of late-round talent that fit Detroit's plan.

Josh Liskiewitz is an independent scout with GM Jr. Have a draft question? Give Josh a shout and be featured in his next mailbag.

Scouting Day 3

On Monday, I covered Day 2 (2nd and 3rd round prospects). And while ESPN may not roll out the red carpet for day three of the draft, these picks are just as important to a team’s success as the blue chippers.  Great potential can be found in every round, and here are several prospects you can expect Detroit to be considering come Sunday, April 30th.

Scouting the
4th Round


Scouting the
5th Round

Justin Rogers, CB Richmond
Clay Nurse, DE Illinois
Rogers had a nice East West Shrine week, showing he has the athleticism to play the next level. His film is even better, as he has the speed, agility, and loose hips to be very effective in man coverage in the NFL. He will need to add bulk as well as become more aggressive against the run, but great athletes are always coveted at the corner position. As a bonus, he is a dangerous return threat because of his acceleration and decisiveness in the open field.   Nurse is an explosive edge rusher that would be able to help immediately as a situational pass rusher as he develops his lower body and improves his strength at the point of attack.  He has a ton of upside and could eventually develop into a starting RDE.
Ryan Hill, CB Miami
Kealoha Pilares, WR Hawaii
While college teammate has gotten the majority of the attention from the media, Hill was the better player on film and has a lot of raw, undeveloped potential.  He is a physical corner that flashes the speed and athleticism to cover all over the field.   Pilares doesn’t have the ideal size of an NFL receiver, but his excellent route running and aggressiveness after the catch make him an ideal candidate at slot receiver at the next level.  With the ball in his hands he plays like a running back, and thus should have the versatility to line up at a number of positions in order to create match up problems for defenses.
Jerrard Tarrant, SAF GTU
Jonas Mouton, OLB Michigan
Tarrant would probably be considered the top safety prospect in this draft class if it weren’t for his off the field concerns.  He has the speed to cover man to man, and the burst and ball skills to be a big time playmaker at the next level.   Mouton was a frustrating player to evaluate on film, but his athleticism and ability in pass coverage would be tough to pass on at this point in the draft.  If he ever learns how to play under control and take better angles of pursuit, he could become a starter at either outside linebacker position.

Scouting the
6th Round


Scouting the
7th Round

Jimmy Young, WR TCU
DJ Smith, OLB App. State
Young could still be available at this point in the draft because he lacks elite speed and is not a polished route runner.  At this point he would be great value, as he is a big, physical receiver that is a competitive runner after the catch.  He would be another solid red zone threat for the Lions opposite Calvin Johnson.   Smith lacks the height NFL teams are looking for at linebacker, but his athleticism and sideline to sideline range are impressive.  He is an excellent tackler and should become a solid backup at weakside linebacker, where he will be allowed to use his speed and quickness to cover ground without having to consistently take on blockers.
Jamie Harper, RB Clemson
Trevis Turner, OT Abil. Christian
The Lions need someone that can handle running inside, and Harper could fill that void.  While he needs to play at a more consistent pad level, he has the bulk Detroit is looking for inside.  He also has surprisingly quick feet, and is an accomplished receiver out of the backfield.   Turner has outstanding size and natural strength, but his inconsistencies with his footwork should make him a late round prospect.  Once he improves his shuffle and learns to play with a more consistent base, he could become a solid backup right tackle capable of spot starting.
ShilohKeo, SAF Idaho
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, QB Sac. St.
Keo doesn’t have the athleticism to start at safety or the size to convert to linebacker, but he is a highly competitive player that should become a solid backup at the next level.  He is excellent in run support, and teams are certain to fall in love with his attitude and production on special teams.    McLeod John Balthazar Bethel-Thompson (I couldn’t resist using his full name) had a tumultuous college career, as he transferred from UCLA after struggling to find the field and then had several injuries that kept him from starting full time at Sacramento State.  His physical skill set when he is on the field is undeniable, as he is a big athletic QB capable of making all the throws with zip and accuracy.  Some scouts have questioned his leadership and intangibles, but he is worth the risk toward the end of the draft.  I am of the philosophy that teams should draft a QB late in the draft every year.  They are bound to hit on a starter eventually, and even if the franchise QB is already in place the team should least be able to eventually get solid trade compensation.



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