Allen Park — Each Saturday during the college football season, we'll highlight five prospects with locally televised matchups who could be a fit for the Detroit Lions in the 2019 NFL Draft, based on projected needs.
Every week, the list will aim to highlight early-, mid- and late-round prospects. This will give you a chance to watch the players performing live, instead of playing catch-up in the weeks before the draft.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (No. 5)
LSU at Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS
A strong leader who represents the school at all SEC functions, Brown's demeanor shifts on the field. That's where he puts his 6-foot-5, 325-pound frame to good use. He racked up an impressive 56 tackles from the interior last season, including nine behind the line. He also forced a pair of fumbles.
The Lions picked up Sylvester Williams to fill their nose tackle role this season, but he's on a one-year deal. The team needs a long-term big body who can clog the middle but also get after the passer on occasion. Brown fits the bill.
David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State (No. 32)
Oklahoma at Iowa State, noon, ABC
The Lions are probably going to need a running back next season with both Ameer Abdullah and LeGarrette Blount on expiring contracts. Additionally, Theo Riddick has a $4.3 million cap hit.
Sure, Detroit selected Kerryon Johnson in the last draft, but he's not built to handle 25 touches each week. He'll need a complement and Montgomery could be an intriguing early round option.
A little bit bigger than Johnson, Montgomery is a fairly polished receiving threat coming out of the backfield. He hauled in 36 passes for the Cyclones last season to go with the 1,146 yards he churned out on the ground. With the way Oklahoma has been racking up the points this year, we might not get to see too many carries before Iowa State has to lean exclusively on the pass.
Drew Sample, TE, Washington (No. 88)
Washington at Utah, 10 p.m., ESPN
Sample built his foundation as a blocker in his early years with the Huskies, but is moving into a more prominent pass-catching role this season, replacing Will Dissly, who had a nice debut with the Seahawks last week.
After recording just seven catches in 10 games as a junior, Sample already has five grabs through two weeks this year. His coaches praise his passion for the game, his willingness to learn not only his own position, but the rest of the offense, and his competitiveness.
Sample slimmed down to 251 pounds this season, improving his quickness for the expanded receiving role. He's similar in size to Detroit's Luke Willson, who will be a free agent at season's end.
Iman Marshall, CB, USC (No. 8)
USC at Texas, 8 p.m., Fox
It's too early to make a call on Teez Tabor's future, but if the Lions aren't confident with his development by the end of the year, a contingency plan must be considered.
In New England, Matt Patricia liked to have a speed corner and a physical corner. In Detroit, Darius Slay is that speed option, while Nevin Lawson and Tabor are supposed to be the press options on the opposite side. Marshall can also be that guy.
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he has the frame to play with physicality. He could have come out last year, but decided to get some extra seasoning. He tallied six interceptions and 27 pass breakups in his first three seasons. A matchup against Texas' Collin Johnson (6-foot-5, 220-pound) is a great opportunity to see what Marshall can do against NFL size and talent.
Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State (No. 86)
Ohio State at TCU, 8 p.m. ABC
Have we mentioned the Lions need interior help along the defensive line? Beyond Williams being on a one-year deal, Ricky Jean Francois is, as well. And, at this rate, A'Shawn Robinson might also be sent packing in 2019. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and doesn't seem to be the fit we all expected in Patricia's scheme.
Jones is different than Brown, who we highlighted earlier. The Buckeyes standout is listed at a much smaller 286 pounds, making him more of a inside-outside guy in Detroit's defensive system, similar to Da'Shawn Hand.
Jones stayed in college an extra year and drew rave reviews for his spring conditioning and performance. That's translated to two early sacks for the interior rusher. His long arms should add to his schematic appeal for the Lions.