Names to watch for Lions on Day 3 of NFL Draft

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst (73), who was once thought to be a first-round pick, has slid to Day 3 of the NFL Draft due to health concerns.

Allen Park — So far, the Detroit Lions have drafted a center, a running back and a safety. They also gave up their fourth-round pick to move up in the second round to secure that running back, Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson.

That leaves the Lions with just two selections on Day 3: No. 153 in the fifth round and No. 237 in the seventh. So, who is left? Trying to project who any team will take down the stretch of the draft is an exercise in throwing darts blindfolded, but we’ll give you a few names on the board at multiple positions the Lions could still address.

Tight end

Prospects: Jaylen Samuels (North Carolina State), Ian Thomas (Indiana), Tyler Conklin (Central Michigan), Durham Smythe (Notre Dame)

Thoughts: Detroit could certainly stand to add a rookie to the mix at tight end. Samuels is a fascinating option because of his hybrid skill set as a ball carrier, pass catcher and blocker. Plus, he’d provide value on special teams. That versatility could appeal to the Lions.

Thomas is an athletic dual-threat who is a capable and willing blocker with a pass-catching skill set that is still developing. Conklin, a former basketball player, likely won’t cost as much as Thomas, while offering similar versatility.

Wide receiver

Prospects: Davon Grayson (ECU), Richie James (Middle Tennessee State), Trey Quinn (SMU)

Thoughts: The Lions don’t need a wide receiver in 2018, but could look at slot options who are good at making things happen after the catch if they are thinking about letting Golden Tate walk in free agency. This trio fits the bill.

More: Wojo: Lions make needed leap for RB Kerryon Johnson

Defensive end

Prospects: Josh Sweat (FSU), Dorance Armstrong (Kansas), Hercules Mata'afa (Washington State), Jalyn Holmes (Ohio State), Zach Sieler (Ferris State)

Thoughts: Detroit has passed up a number of edge rushers in this draft, but there are some intriguing speed options who could be on the board in the fifth round in Sweat and Armstrong. The reason Sweat is dropping is reportedly because of a knee injury. Mata’afa offers a powerful outside option with flexibility and experience playing inside. Sieler, a local product, is a wild card talent. He’s massive, at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, and put up monster numbers against low-level competition.

Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat (9).

Defensive tackle

Prospects: Maurice Hurst (Michigan), Bilal Nichols (Delaware), Tim Settle (Virginia Tech), Poona Ford (Texas)

Thoughts: It’s been a shocking free-fall for Hurst, and Lions general manager Bob Quinn wouldn’t comment whether the former Michigan standout is on or off the Lions’ board due to health concerns. But you can make a strong case it’s worth exploring the risk on Day 3. Settle is a two-down lineman who could be a long-term nose tackle option, while Ford has an non-traditional body type (5-foot-11), but has shown the ability to produce despite those limitations.


Prospects: Genard Avery (Memphis), Josey Jewell (Iowa), Shaquem Griffin (UCF), Darius Jackson (Jacksonville State)

Thoughts: The Lions loaded up on linebacker in free agency, but there’s still room to get better. Avery is an outstanding athlete who can cover a lot of ground in a hurry, including rush the passer. The Lions met with the productive Jewell during the pre-draft process, implying a level of interest. And Griffin, one of the draft’s great stories, is more than that. The one-handed linebacker can be a productive special-team and sub-package player.