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.
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College (No. 2)
Boston College at Purdue, Noon, ESPN 2
The Lions passed on a Boston College edge rusher a few months ago, but they'll have another opportunity this offseason. Allen is a different style player than speed rusher Harold Landry, who was drafted No. 41 by the Titans in April. The current Eagle is bigger, at 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, giving him the beef to hold the edge when defending the run.
Allen can also disrupt the backfield, recording 25.5 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks the past two seasons. Overall, he was highly productive as a junior last year, recording 100 stops, a staggering number for a defensive lineman.
Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford (No. 82)
Stanford at Oregon, 8 p.m., ABC
The tight end is such an important position in football and the Lions are rolling with a stopgap collective in 2018. Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo are on one-year deals and Michael Roberts and Hakeem Valles haven't proven they're anything beyond rotational options to this point.
Smith, unlike many college prospects, has a blocking pedigree and, at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, he has the frame to carry that trait to the pro ranks. A red-shirt junior, he also brings some pass-catching ability to the table. After hauling in 23 passes for 414 yards and five scores last season, he's already snagged 12 passes through three games for the Cardinal this year.
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia (No. 18)
Georgia at Missouri, Noon, ESPN
Baker is arguably the nation's top cornerback prospect. Returning to Georgia a year after recording 10 pass breakups and three interceptions, he's off to a hot start in 2018. According to Pro Football Focus, he's allowing a passer rating of 33.7 on throws his direction. He gave up two completions last week, but for negative yardage.
Seeing how Baker performs against Drew Lock, one of the best quarterback prospects in this class should be fun.
Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion (No. 7)
Virginia Tech at Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Honestly, I don't know how many of you have the CBS Sports Network, but I have it on YouTube TV, so I know it's not impossible to find in these parts and who knows the next time Old Dominion will be on local TV.
As Ximines has packed on weight over his college career, he's increased his production and become a more and more viable NFL prospect. Despite being the clear target of opposing game plans, he still managed 8.5 sacks last season and already has 3.0 this year. Additionally, he has a knack for jarring the ball loose, forcing nine fumbles in his last 28 games.
T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin (No. 53)
Wisconsin at Iowa, 8:30 p.m., Fox
The Lions appear to have found their strongside linebacking solution in Devon Kennard, but they need to further bolster the second level. Jarrad Davis remains locked into the middle spot for the time being, but the well-proportioned Edwards would be an upgrade at the other off-the-ball spot.
Initial appearance wouldn't suggest it, but Edwards is pretty good in coverage. He's recorded seven interceptions the past two seasons. That probably sounds like another former Badger linebacker Lions fans know. And the 28.5 tackles for a loss during Edwards' college career highlight his playmaking ability coming forward.