The Detroit Lions' front office and coaching staff are on their way to Mobile, Alabama this week for the annual Senior Bowl, where some of the nation’s top prospects will be performing, hoping to improve or solidify their draft stock.
We’ll get into individual prospects later this week, but here are some things to pay attention to:
1.The lines: Detroit needs to improve both its offensive and defensive lines. A bunch of the Lions' defensive tackles -- including Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker -- are free agents, and the team could use a powerful end to pair with Ezekiel Ansah. On offense, tackle is a major concern and the Lions could be interested in a center as well. Guys like defensive linemen Jarran Reed, Sheldon Day and Adolphus Washington could be ones to watch.
2.Who Bob Quinn is talking to: Quinn has done the Senior Bowl circuit before, but this is his first time running an organization. Who he and his staff choose to meet with could indicate what type of players he is targeting. Of course, coming from the New England school of scouting, much of what Quinn does could be diversionary as well..
3.The quarterbacks: The Lions shouldn’t be in the market for a top-flight quarterback, but the ones in this game could end up as targets. The more intriguing ones are Carson Wentz from North Dakota State, Jacoby Brissett from NC State and Dak Prescott from Mississippi State. The Lions could invest in a quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds to develop behind Matthew Stafford. That was a typical approach in New England and probably should be with the Lions.
4.The youngest Gronk: Yep, there’s another one -- Glenn Gronkowski -- and the family has history with both the Patriots and Lions. Rob Gronkowski, obviously, is the best tight end in the NFL and plays for New England. Dan Gronkowski was drafted by Detroit in 2009. Glenn played fullback at Kansas State but is listed as a tight end in the Senior Bowl. Considering Quinn’s love of versatility, it’ll be worth seeing how Glenn performs.
5.The wide receivers: Calvin Johnson’s status remains unknown, and regardless the Lions need to upgrade at wide receiver beyond Golden Tate. It’s about time the Lions seriously consider finding the player who will eventually replace Johnson. Braxton Miller, the former Ohio State quarterback, should be a sought-after player for his skill set and versatility since he can also be an emergency quarterback. Leonte Carroo (Rutgers), Tajae Sharpe (UMass) and Aaron Burbridge (Michigan State) are among the other players to pay attention to. But really, every wide receiver should garner some looks from the Lions.