The Detroit Lions are out of the playoff picture and the fate of coach Jim Caldwell is still up in the air. But there’s no time like the present, with bowl games on daily, to start taking a peek at some potential draft prospects.
With four bowl games on Wednesday, here are a few prospects to look at for Lions purposes in each game. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just something to get yourself familiar with some prospects for the months-long conversation until the draft.
Southern Mississippi vs. Florida State
Tarvarus McFadden, CB, Florida State: The Lions are unlikely to invest in a corner too early, but he could be a tall, mid-round option. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, he has good range and intangibles. He had eight pass breakups during the season. A junior, it’s not a guarantee he’s coming out, though.
Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State: The 6-1, 310-pounder is a guy who could fill an immediate need in the middle of the Lions' defensive line. He had 51 tackles this season. He has eight career sacks and could be a decent run-stuffer.
Iowa vs. Boston College
Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa: The 5-11, 185-pound back gained 1,021 yards this season with nine touchdowns a year after he ran for 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns this season. He could be a good Day 2 prospect for a team that will be needing at least one running back this offseason.
Sean Welsh, G/C, Iowa: The offensive line needs help and while T.J. Lang has guaranteed money for 2018, it’s reasonable to start thinking about his replacement. Plus, there could be an open spot at left guard if Detroit moves on from Travis Swanson. Welsh has guard and center flexibility and has started all or parts of four seasons for the Hawkeyes and was named first-team All-Big Ten this year. More impressive, he is very open with suffering from depression, as he wrote about in this first-person essay.
Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College: He’s a clear first-round prospect and would be a potential immediate upgrade for a suspect pass rush. Unfortunately, he won’t play in the Pinstripe Bowl due to injury. That’ll be something to monitor during the draft process, but he’s a playmaker and a pass-rusher with 26 career sacks. He also has 47.5 career tackles and 10 forced fumbles.
Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa: He led all Iowa defenders with 110 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss. He also had 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and eight pass breakups. He won the Lambert Award, given to the nation’s top college linebacker -- an award Khalil Mack, Joe Schobert, Luke Kuechly and Von Miller have won in the past -- and was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year.
Arizona vs. Purdue
Gelen Robinson, DE, Purdue: This would be a flier selection late, but Robinson is extremely athletic –-- at one point he was on the Boilermakers’ football, wrestling and track teams. He also has a lot of athleticism in his family. His brother, Glenn Robinson III, plays basketball for the Indiana Pacers and his dad is former NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson. Gelen Robinson had 48 tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks this season.
Texas vs. Missouri
J’Mon Moore, WR, Missouri: The Lions don’t necessarily need a receiver, but Moore could be an intriguing late-round pick. He had 60 catches for 1,017 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. At 6-3, 205 pounds, he would give Detroit another tall option. He’s consistent, too, as he had 62 catches for 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior.
Marcell Frazier, DE, Missouri: The Tigers have had a lot of good defensive linemen the past few years, and Frazier might be next. He had 36 tackles this year with 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. At 6-5, 265 pounds, he has the size to play on the edge immediately and could move inside if the Lions had him bulk up.