The next L.T? Lions pre-draft visits heat up

The Detroit Lions fortified the offensive backfield via free-agency, but that hasn't stopped the team from demonstrating an interest in one of the draft's top running backs. Here's a hint: it isn't Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson. More inside.

ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions fortified the offensive backfield via free-agency, but that hasn't stopped the team from demonstrating an interest in one of the draft's top running backs.

The Lions have scheduled a visit with California running back Marshawn Lynch, according to Ravens Insider, despite the top-flight running back's mid-round projection.

"It's a two-back draft with Adrian Peterson and Marshawn," said Lynch's agent, Doug Hendrickson. "Personally, I don't see Marshawn getting past Green Bay (16th overall). I could see him going even higher to Buffalo or maybe Atlanta. It's hard to predict.

"Down the road, I believe he'll be the best back coming out of this draft. He's only 20 years old and he has a very similar build to LaDainian Tomlinson with unbelievable hands."

The optimistic tone of his agent aside, Lynch's unimpressive combine last month hasn't necessarily affected his stock. After rushing for 2,602 yards, 21 touchdowns and collecting 49 passes in the past two seasons at Cal, Lynch is still generating interest from over half the league.

He has visited nearly a dozen teams, with more visits scheduled -- including his pit stop in the Motor City.

The Lions, owners of the No. 2 overall pick, would only land Lynch if they moved down from that position. However, the team's odd interest in mid-round projectees (they've also talked with U-M corner Leon Hall) has generated buzz that a draft trade is already lined up.

If Detroit is truly interested in Lynch, without the chance of moving down, there's the possibility that he could slide due to a few off-field issues.

In January, Lynch was accused of sexual assault by his girlfriend, but law enforcement officials declined to press charges, citing "grave inconsistencies" in the woman's accusations. The report still raised eyebrows throughout the league.

The Lions have padded the backfield with the additions of Tatum Bell (Broncos) and T.J. Duckett (Falcons), but could feasibly find a spot at running back for a speedy playmaker with soft hands.

NOTES: The Lions met with Texas safety Michael Griffin on Monday. Griffin is a projected early second-round draft choice, and Detroit is looking to upgrade its secondary.

Central Michigan OT Joe Staley, a Lions draft target, continues to scream up the charts. Staley is busy meeting with NFL clubs, and chatter around the league have him jumping from an early second-round pick to a potential mid-to-late first rounder.

Aaron Wilson helped contribute to this report.


Lions Report Top Stories