Lions Might Have Better Options Than Visitors

Draft expert Josh Liskiewitz evaluates some of the talented prospects that have visited the Detroit Lions' Allen Park headquarters -- and offers some alternatives.

Official visits are now well under way as we head into the home stretch before the first round of the draft on April 28th.  This time of year is always a guessing game, as teams are apt to not only bring in some of their favorite prospects, but also players they have no intention of drafting, in an effort to disguise draft day plans.  
Visited or Scheduled Visits (4/12)
CB Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)
CB Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
 
 
 
OT David Mims (Virginia Union)
OG Will Rackley (Lehigh)
 
DE Chris Carter (Fres. State)
DE Greg Romeus (Pitt)
DE Aldon Smith (Mizzou)
 
LB Bruce Carter (UNC)
 
Here is a look at  a few of the prospects that have visited Detroit. Tomorrow, we'll take a peak at players the fans and media have discussed as favorites, but whom haven't yet visited the team's Allen Park headquarters.
 
Visiting Prospect: Mike Pouncey, OL Florida
 
Detroit got a close look at Mike Pouncey when he visited Allen Park back on March 17th.  His twin brother Maurkice was drafted in the first round last year by Pittsburgh, and his success has certainly contributed to the buzz around Mike this spring.  Despite his favorable bloodlines, Mike isn’t near the prospect his brother is, as he lacks the same strength and physicality at the point and attack, and in the long run may be better suited to play center, despite his 2010 struggles snapping the ball.  
 
Better Option: Danny Watkins, OL Baylor
 
While the Lions have not officially brought Watkins in for a visit, he is a much better prospect than Pouncey, as well as a better fit for what Detroit needs.  Watkins is a great athlete with excellent quickness and feet.  He plays much stronger than Pouncey because he is so consistent in terms of being able to sink his hips and maintain his leverage advantage.  He, like Pouncey, is likely to be drafted somewhere between Detroit’s first two picks.  Watkins is a viable target if Detroit trades back from #13, and he is capable of starting at all three interior line positions.
 
Visiting Prospect: Torrey Smith, WR Maryland
 
The Lions also met with Smith in March, who has been a fast rising prospect due to his excellent combination of size and speed.  Although his athleticism is certainly enticing, he is not an accomplished route runner, and also struggles with consistency on his blocking.  He is now likely to be a late first round selection, which is a dangerous price to pay for an unfinished product.
 
Better Option: Leonard Hankerson, WR Miami
 
Hankerson has been a bit of a forgotten man since the end of the college season, despite being the class of the Senior Bowl at his position and running well at the combine.  While he doesn’t offer the same top end speed as Smith, he is an outstanding route runner that makes very tight cuts and knows how to use his body to create consistent separation.  His game is somewhat reminiscent of Anquan Boldin, as he has the proficiency and build to work well inside, while at the same time possessing the aggressiveness and open field running instincts to be a dangerous threat once in space.
 
Visiting Prospect: Will Rackley, OG Lehigh
 
Rackley played tackle in college but will need to slide down to guard in part because he plays a bit upright and stiff, and struggles to slide and change directions in space.  While he has excellent hands and is able to lock on and sustain blocks at the point of attack when he wants to, he is not an aggressive drive blocker and does not finish blocks consistently.  While some are billing him as a third round prospect, his inconsistencies make him a better day 3 value.
 
Better Option: Daniel Kilgore, OG Appalachian State
 
Kilgore also played tackle in college, but the only thing keeping him from staying out on the edge is his lack of arm length.  He has excellent feet, showing the ability to consistently shuffle and redirect in pass protection.  What really sets him apart from Rackley is his nasty demeanor, as he loves to finish off blocks and isn’t afraid to mix it up.  He is good enough to be taken in the third round, but would be an absolute steal for the Lions if he were to still be on the board in round four.

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