The Lions were allotted 30 pre-draft visits ahead of next month’s NFL Draft and finished the slate with a trio of prospects visiting Allen Park on Friday.
BRADLEY ROBY, CB, OHIO STATE
The news surrounding former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby this week hasn’t been centered around his skills on the football field, but rather some issues off of it.
The talented cornerback was reportedly cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated last weekend, but Roby took to Twitter while visiting the Lions on a pre-draft visit Friday to prove his innocence.
“I feel like I said what I needed to say on Twitter,” Roby told detroitlions.com. “Everything isn’t what it seems and hopefully it gets solved quickly. It just happened at a terrible time. It’s very unfortunate for myself. I’ve dealt with things like this before and I’ll bounce back.
“Everything on this visit was very positive. The coaches and the GM, when they heard the facts, they were very understanding. I just really don’t want it to hurt my image. People already have a certain opinion about me, so I think this was something that’s going to add onto it.”
It’s yet to be determined how the incident will affect Roby’s draft stock next month, but there’s no denying he’s a good football player.
He’s NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock’s fourth-ranked cornerback and likely a late first day draft choice.
He started 11 of 12 games last year (missed the opener because of a suspension) and recorded 69 tackles, defended 16 passes and had three interceptions.
A playmaker at Ohio State, Roby scored touchdowns on a blocked punt against Northwestern and a 63-yard interception return vs. Illinois.
He had 44 career passes defended (eight interceptions and 36 pass break ups) and ranks third in school history with 226 interception return yards.
“I just want to have an impact on the game to make sure we win,” Roby said. “If it’s special teams, I blocked three punts at Ohio State. If its offense, defense or special teams, I make plays wherever I’m at.”
Roby was a starter in all 37 games he played in over his three-year playing career with the Buckeyes and scored five career touchdowns.
ERIK LORA, WR, EASTERN ILLINOIS
Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is everyone’s favorite small-school prospect who's going to make a splash in next month’s NFL Draft. Garoppolo is recognized as one of the top 5 quarterbacks available in the draft.
His favorite target at Eastern Illinois the last few seasons was receiver Erik Lora, a player the Lions brought in to Allen Park Friday to take a closer look at.
Lora, 5-foot-10, 202 pounds, set an FCS record with 136 catches for 1,664 yards as a junior. As an encore this past season he had 123 catches for 1,544 yards and 19 touchdowns.
“Since I’m not 6-foot-5 and don’t run a 4.2 (40-yard dash) and I don’t have the crazy intangibles, I need to do things in my power and use them to my advantage to get ahead on the football field,” Lora said.
“Just reading coverages quicker and using little tricks I’ve learned in college called the tool belt, that really give me an advantage.”
Lora ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds at Northwestern’s pro day last month and his body of work has NFL teams taking notice as a potential late round pick or free agent.
Lora thinks the recent success of small-school receivers like T.Y Hilton (Florida International) and Pierre Garcon (Mount Union) has helped his cause.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters down at the annual league meetings last month that the draft being pushed back a couple weeks will allow the Lions personnel department to take a closer look at some of the smaller school prospects like Lora.
DRI ARCHER, RB, KENT STATE
Speed kills in the NFL and former Kent State running back Dri Archer has lots of it.
The 5-foot-8, 173-pound Archer nearly broke the NFL Scouting Combine record in the 40-yard dash (4.26), but came just two-hundredths of a second short of Chris Johnson’s record from 2008 (4.24).
Archer had an impressive Combine overall, putting up 20 reps in the bench press and reaching 38 inches on his vertical jump.
“I’m not just a speed guy,” Archer told detroitlions.com. “I have toughness on the field. I have great vision and the coaches really see that when they pull up my film. Speed is just a plus.”
He was limited some by injuries in 2013, but as a junior in 2012 he racked up 1,990 yards from scrimmage as an all-purpose player. He had 1,429 rushing yards that season on just 159 carries (8.9 average).
The last two seasons at Kent State, Archer averaged 7.8 and 8.9 yards per carry, respectively. He also returned four kickoffs for touchdowns over that span.
“I definitely do see myself playing a lot of different positions (in the NFL),” Archer said. “I can be multidimensional. I can come out of the backfield. I can go line up in the slot and catch a pass. I can also help in the return game.”