At this point of the draft, results become less predictable as available players vary and team’s true draft grades on available players become more difficult to accurately assess.
The Lions own the 22nd pick in the third round, No. 85 overall.
Below is a quick look at the players that may most interest the Lions at this point.
Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
Beginning in the third round is when the Lions are most likely to take the hardest look at the running back position (assuming a player they feel they cannot pass on doesn’t fall to them in round two).
Gray is a quick back that has the skill sets the Lions are interested in.
He is shifty with a strong lower body as a runner and a solid player as both a receiver and pass protector.
Although he does have some speed, he doesn’t have elite speed and will need to work on becoming a little more decisive in his running. Still, Gray fits what the Lions look for from the position and could be a solid option for the team.
Josh Kaddu, DE/OLB, Oregon
Kaddu is an outstanding athlete and versatile player.
Playing strong side linebacker last season for the Ducks, Kaddu demonstrated he is a capable pass rusher with 6.5 sacks.
The Lions would be most interested in Kaddu as a 4-3 defensive end but he would provide options because of his multidimensional abilities.
Kaddu isn’t a polished player and relies far too much on his athleticism to succeed, which will make his adjustment to the NFL more difficult than some other players.
The Lions will be hoping to have already selected a pass rusher at this point however, if they are still in the market for the position, Kaddu is a schematic fit.
Stephenson is an intriguing prospect as he has good size (6-foot-6, 316 pounds) and athleticism.
With good speed and agility for the position, he can be effective in both the run and pass game.
He was suspended for the entire 2009 season due to academics and doesn’t have a tremendous amount of experience or production.
He should be considered a developmental prospect with the tools to eventually become a starter.
The fact that the Lions don’t need immediate tackle help could make him an option for the club.
James Brown, OG, Troy
It is unlikely the Lions will be able to find an offensive line starter at this point in the draft, so they will begin to look for developmental picks.
Brown is an option in that scenario.
With the tools needed to be strong in the pass protection game, the Lions could have some interest.
Brown has natural athleticism but needs to work on his technique and add some more strength.
He would be a developmental prospect.
Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
Brooks could be appealing to the Lions if they felt comfortable with him taking over as the slot cornerback.
At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Brooks lacks the size and strength to immediately have an impact as a No. 1 or No. 2 corner. Playing the slot, against smaller receivers, would better suit his talents.
A willing tackler and speedy player, Brooks also could have an immediate impact on special teams.
Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
Pierce has good vision, is a decisive runner and could be a solid short-yardage, goal-line and four-minute offense runner.
Pierce doesn’t have great speed and isn’t a solid receiver out of the backfield.
If the Lions took Pierce, it’d be as a situational runner.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada
Matthews was a highly productive receiver (1,364 yards and eight touchdowns) last season.
Playing for Nevada, Matthews didn’t always face elite competition and he will have to prove he is capable of being effective in an NFL offense, however, he excels with the ball in his hands and would be a solid possession receiver for the Lions.
When their running game isn’t effective, the Lions turn to the short passing game to supplement the ground attack, Matthews would be an ideal fit to help in those situations.
Summary / Expectation
The third round is where the Lions figure to begin taking the hardest look at running back and – assuming they don’t acquire one in the first two rounds – offensive linemen.
If the Lions ideal scenario plays itself out, they will have already secured a pass rusher and cornerback at this point.
Running back, offensive line and wide receiver are the most likely of the positions to be selected with this pick.