For the first time since becoming Lions general manager, Bob Quinn has a draft pick in the top 10.
“It’s kind of uncharted territory for me, to be honest,” he said last week at his pre-draft press conference. “I don’t really love it, but it is what it is. We’re going to go out and get the best possible player for the Lions to help us win ... whatever position it is.”
Quinn is in a unique position with the No. 8 pick. He can select an impact player or potentially move back and gain draft capital. If the Lions stay put and select a player at No. 8, here are 10 names that could potentially fit:
(Note: This list excludes Nick Bosa and Quinnen Williams with the belief they won’t be available at No. 8)
1. Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky, 6-5, 262
Allen has the skill set to be a true hybrid linebacker or hand-in-the-dirt rusher off the edge in a multiple scheme. He’s versatile, with speed, strength and athleticism. Allen has it all, plus he had the production in the SEC to match (21.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks last season). A creative defensive mind could have a lot of fun with a player like Allen.
2. Devin White, LB, LSU, 6-0, 237
White had back-to-back 100-tackle seasons for the Tigers and possesses elite-level athletic traits (4.42 in 40 & 39.5 vertical). He’s been one of the better cover linebackers in the college game the last two seasons, and has also shown the ability to be a plus blitzer. Selecting White would give the Lions two young, athletic players (Jarrad Davis) at the linebacker position for years to come.
3. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, 6-5, 251
Some think Hockenson is the best tight end prospect to enter the draft in the last decade. The one thing that really jumps out about Hockenson’s game is his ability to be a dominant in-line blocker right away. He has a good feel for the passing game, creates separation from defenders, and can run after the catch. He and free-agent acquisition Jesse James could make a nice one-two punch, and give the Lions the option to utilize 12 personnel (two TE packages) as they see fit.
4. Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State, 6-6, 260
Sweat was dominant at the Senior Bowl. He was the best defender in Mobile for the week and it really wasn’t close. He then lit up the Combine by breaking the modern 40-yard dash record for a defensive lineman (4.41). The medicals will have to check out after a heart issue was discovered at the Combine, but Sweat combines speed with power and production (22 sacks last two seasons).
5. Ed Oliver, Edge, Houston, 6-2, 287
He’s drawn a lot of comparisons to Aaron Donald because of his size and athletic traits, but Donald came into the league as a more refined pass rusher. Oliver, however, is an explosive player, who was used up and down the line at Houston. There’s a little bit of projection work that comes with Oliver, but there is no denying his incredible athletic traits and high ceiling.
6. Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama, 6-4, 302
Quinn said last week this draft was filled with players upfront along the offensive line that had the potential to be versatile and play multiple positions. He and his staff have spent a lot of time scouting those players. Williams seems to fit the mold. He started at right tackle as a true freshman at Alabama and played the last two seasons at left tackle, but some draft analysts think he has the skill set to transition inside and play guard. The Lions have an opening at the right guard spot.
7. Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan, 6-4, 277
Gary has all the necessary physical tools teams love for the position: Size, speed, power and his explosiveness is off the charts. The only big question with Gary is why he wasn’t more productive at Michigan given those physical gifts. He has elite potential in the right scheme with the right coaching.
8. Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State, 6-5, 249
Long and rangy edge rusher who possesses elite speed (4.53) and get off. He needs to continue to add muscle to his frame, but the explosiveness and speed off the edge could really interest some teams. He recorded 15.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks last season as opposing tackles were really bothered by his speed around the edge.
9. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson, 6-4, 264
A three-down player with prototypical size, length and strength to play both the pass and the run at the NFL level. His athletic traits don’t jump off the page, but he’s posted 36.5 tackles for loss and 21 sacks over the past two seasons. He’s a high character player and someone who never has to come off the field.
10. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan, 5-11, 234
Like White, Bush doesn’t have the typical size for the linebacker position at the NFL level, but the pro game is evolving. Versatile linebackers like Bush, who can run, cover, hit and blitz, are what teams are looking for. He has explosive physical traits and could be a unique hybrid player for the right defensive mind.
View photos of NFL prospect Devin Bush.