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O'HARA'S DRAFT PREVIEW: 5 linebackers that could interest Lions

Head coach Dan Campbell likes what the Detroit Lions have done at the linebacker position this offseason, but it's only a start.

There is more work to do at a position that was a weak link last season on one of the worst defenses in franchise history.

"I like what we've got going on," Campbell said in a Zoom interview. "Does that mean we're done? No, it does not mean we're done.

"You'd like to go into this draft and not need to draft off need. You'd like to draft the best player available, or the guy that when you're sitting there and it's your turn to pick ... do you all love this guy?

"Where does he fit? What's the role? What's the vision?"

The Lions have good options with the seventh pick in the first round. One is to take Micah Parsons of Penn State, regarded by most draft analysts as the best linebacker on the board.

Among the offseason linebacker moves the Lions have made is restructuring the contract of Jamie Collins Sr., whose versatility impresses Campbell, signing free agent Alex Anzalone of New Orleans, and re-signing Jalen Reeves-Maybin. He was a 2017 fourth-round draft pick by the Lions who's been primarily a core special teams ace but has shown some good signs in limited time at linebacker.

Lions linebacker depth chart: Alex Anzalone, Jamie Collins Sr., Shaun Dion Hamilton, Anthony Pittman, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Jahlani Tavai, Jason Cabinda (also plays fullback).

Position draft priority: High. Impact, leadership and performance have been lacking in linebackers drafted by the Lions.

Draft strength: It's a good year for linebackers. Four of the five in this group are listed as inside linebackers.

Five linebackers who could fit the Lions (only Zaven Collins is listed as an outside linebacker):

1. Micah Parsons, Penn State

6-3, 245

Stats line: Two-year player, 26 games, opted out in 2020. Career: 100 solo tackles, 92 assists. Big 2019 season: 14 tackles for loss, five sacks, five passes defended, four forced fumbles.

How he could fit the Lions: One of the top defenders in this draft, regardless of position. Plays the middle and gets to the ball from sideline to sideline.

2. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame

6-1, 215

Stats line: Four-year player, spent 2017 on scout team. Played 27 games, 25 of them in the last two seasons. Last two years: 24.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries.

How he could fit the Lions: Probably needs to bulk up from listed college weight of 215, but could add versatility and athleticism to the unit.

3. Zaven Collins, Tulsa

6-4, 260

Stats line: Three-year player after 2017 red-shirt season. Played 32 games with 30 starts. In eight games in 2020 posted 11.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions.

How he could fit the Lions: Athletic for his size, powerful, and productive.

4. Nick Bolton, Missouri

6-0, 232

Stats line: Three-year player, two-year full-time starter. Last two seasons: 15 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 15 passes defended, 137 solo tackles.

How he could fit the Lions: Good run defender with range, and a chance to be a three-down player.

5. Jabril Cox, LSU

6-4, 231

Stats line: A one-year player at LSU after transferring from North Dakota State. At LSU, 37 solo tackles in 10 games, 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack, nine passes defended, three interceptions and one sack.

How he could fit the Lions: Needs development but coverage skills could get early playing time. Versatility could be used at safety in some situations.

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