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CB Kris Boyd (Texas) 6-foot-0, 195 pounds | Senior
Boyd is an early favorite of mine. Pop on his tape vs. Texas Tech and you’ll see why. Not only is he extremely athletic, but he’s as smooth as silk in both man and zone coverage with impressive ball skills. Against TTU, he had five, yes, five pass breakups.
Boyd in man coverage.— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) August 31, 2018
In run support, Boyd is a sure tackler and isn’t afraid to dish out a spinebuster for good measure. Boyd doesn’t just sit back and wait for the ball carrier to come to him, he’s a downhill attacker, through and through, and adds some extra weight onto his frame, he could be one of the top CBs to come off the board next April.
EDGE Nick Bosa (OSU) 6-foot-4, 263 pounds | Junior
Search for any big board for the 2019 NFL Draft and you’ll likely see Nick Bosa at the very top. It’s obviously very early, but he’s really that good, and could end up being even better than his brother Joey, who currently plays for the Chargers.
It’s unlikely that the Lions will pick high enough to grab Bosa, but stranger things have happened. Bosa is the perfect blend of size, athleticism and technique, and racked up an astonishing 62 total pressures versus Power 5 opponents in 2017.
EDGE Chase Winovich (Michigan) 6-foot-3, 255 pounds | RS Senior
Most of you will be watching this game, as Michigan faces off against the Irish in Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Winovich is a star in the making and is one of the more disciplined edge defenders in the country, which is why I believe he’d be a great fit for the Lions. He’s not going to “wow” you with his explosiveness, but he has an unrelenting motor that keeps him involved in every play. Last year, he was No. 1 in the Big Ten with 19 tackles for a loss and second in sacks (8.5).
This game is going to be a good one, and there are several players to keep an eye on for both sides, namely, CB Lavert Hill, QB Shea Patterson and LB Devin Bush for the Wolverines and LB Te’Von Coney for the Irish.
WR Deebo Samuel (South Carolina) 6-foot-0, 210 pounds | RS Senior
Just three games into the 2017 schedule, Samuel saw his season end short after a broken leg injury. Somehow, he was able to come back onto the field for a play, but left once more.
Samuel, in less than three full games, was able to show how much he had improved and just how electric he can be and would have been on pace for some outstanding numbers.
I am all the way here for Deebo Samuel. Tough to deal with after the catch and plays bigger than his size (5110/215 per NFLDS). pic.twitter.com/oXCT8NdAPJ— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) August 21, 2018
With Golden Tate’s contract coming to an end and the uncertainty of whether the Lions will pay up, Deebo Samuel could be the perfect replacement option as a slot receiver and even offers some very good YAC ability (certainly not up to Tate’s level, but it’s not going to be easy to replace him).
OG Ross Pierschbacher (Alabama) 6-foot-4, 309 pounds | RS Senior
Pierschbacher tops most interior offensive linemen preseason lists in this weak class. He is one of the more athletic offensive lineman that can pull and execute blocks in the second level, though he tends to get a little upright at times and needs to work on his footwork. His greatest asset is his availability, and has notched 42 career starts at left guard for the Crimson Tide.
Named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press, Pierschbacher could add immediate depth to the Lions’ interior and could eventually replace someone like T.J. Lang at right guard.
IDL Ed Oliver (Houston) 6-foot-3, 292 pounds | Junior
Like Bosa, Oliver will be seen near the top of any big board currently, and is being labeled as the best and most dominant run stuffer in the country for the Cougars. However, Oliver isn’t your typical run stuffing defensive lineman, as he pairs his strength with his elite athleticism.
REMINDER: Houston DT Ed Oliver's freshman season was the second-best year from a DT in the past decade, only behind Aaron Donald in 2013: pic.twitter.com/jcMN11kqQn— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) August 29, 2018
Oliver is as explosive as it gets and the only real concern surrounding him currently is how undersized he may be currently (reportedly weighing in around 270-280 pounds right now).
[Editor’s note: Hi, it’s Jeremy. I owe Alex Reno (and you guys) a huge apology. Alex wrote an NFL Draft watch for Friday’s games, and amidst all of the cuts craziness, I forgot to publish it. I apologized to him privately, but I don’t feel that’s enough. He puts a ton of legwork into these and I just plain out forgot to publish his hard work. Sorry, Alex. I’ll be better.]