Fan Favorite Draft Prospects Might Not Fit

Have a favored prospect you'd like to see the Lions draft? Most do. Expert Josh Liskiewitz evaluates a few of the fan and media favorites and whether or not they fit what the Detroit Lions want to do.

Yesterday, we took a glance at a few prospects that have visited Detroit and offered alternatives. Today, we'll take a peak at players that both the fans and media have discussed as favorites, but whom haven't yet visited the team's Allen Park headquarters.
 
Fan Favorite: J.J. Watt, DE Wisconsin
 
Watt has been one of the more talked about prospects amongst Lions fans as of late because of his excellent motor and fine showing at the combine.  However, on film he is clearly not the athlete he is being made out to be by the general public.  While he has great size and strength, he has limited speed and burst, and is not a dangerous pass rushing threat.  His play reminds me of Washington’s Adam Carricker, who was another big, high motor end that was not a good fit in the 4-3 defense of the Rams, the team that originally drafted him in the first round of the 2007 draft.
 
Better Option: Cameron Jordan, DE California
 
Despite having a monster Senior Bowl week and doing absolutely everything right this off season, the buzz on Jordan has not been as high as it has been for other DE prospects like Watt.  This is likely because of Cal’s 3-4 defense, which limited his statistical production in college, and is leading some fans and media types to incorrectly label him as exclusively a 5-technique end.  He has significantly better quickness and burst off the snap than he is given credit for, and would actually be an extremely versatile player on a 4-3 defense like Detroit’s.  He would drastically improve Detroit’s run defense, as well as a dangerous pass rusher from virtually any alignment because of his quickness and skilled hand usage.
 
Fan Favorite: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama
 
Ingram, a Michigan native, won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship as a sophomore at Alabama.  However as a junior he struggled thru a knee injury early and was not as productive.  Despite his toughness and instincts between the tackles, he is not the elite prospect some have made him out to be because he simply does not have the speed and burst to consistently get thru tight spaces before they close, and is not a threat to break off long runs.
 
Better Option: Mikel Leshoure, RB Illinois
 
Detroit brought LeShoure to team headquarters for a visit on March 29th.  He is a big back that is capable of running with power between the tackles but separates himself from Ingram with his surprising speed and quickness on the edge.  He is also an excellent blocker, which will be a necessity from whomever the Lions bring in to complement the explosive Jahvid Best.
 
Fan Favorite: Brandon Harris, CB Miami
 
Harris is generally considered in the media at the top of the second tier of defensive backs because of his quickness and fluidity.  However, he lacks an explosive closing burst and doesn’t have the size to be able to compete consistently with bigger receivers.  While some believe he will go in the 2nd round, he is more of a 4th round value, as he may not have the growth potential in his game to ever become a full time starter.
 
Better Option: Ras-I Dowling, CB Virginia
 
Dowling struggled to see the field as a senior because of knee and ankle injuries, but he is a superior prospect to Harris because of his size and acceleration.  While he can be beaten off the line in man coverage because of some tightness in his hips, he has the burst needed to recover in time, and has the size and ball skills to be a consistent threat with the ball in the air.  He is also a great player in run support, so much though that some believe he may translate better at safety.  The Lions wisely brought him in for a visit last Wednesday, as he would be able to start as a rookie at either corner or safety in their secondary.

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