NFL Draft Day 3: 12 prospects to watch for Detroit Lions
The team has five picks remaining for Saturday — one in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds and two in the seventh. Here are a list of 12 prospects who could make sense if they're available when Detroit is on the clock to round out the draft class.
► Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
There's a clear trend developing in how Bob Quinn values defensive line in the draft. He took five linemen in his first three years, with four coming on the third day. And after none through three rounds this year, there's a good chance the trend lives on.
Nelson comes out of a program Lions coach Matt Patricia loves, and with a 6-foot-7, 271-pound frame, Nelson offers a big, physical edge-setter, who can slide inside on passing situations.
► Ryan Finley, QB, North Carolina State
A quarterback is certainly in play on Day 3 and Finley is the top guy available at the position, according to most analysts. He has good size, standing 6-foot-4, and throws an accurate ball, completing better than 67 percent of his throws as a fifth-year senior.
► Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
The Lions could get away without drafting a running back, but the team would also benefit from adding another long-term option to the roster. Anderson is high-risk, high-reward. He's had awful luck with injuries, suffering three unrelated season-enders at Oklahoma. But when he's healthy, he's a big, productive one-cut runner.
► Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
Another quarterback, Thorson is also 6-foot-4 with high-level intelligence and strong fundamentals. His statistics aren't as impressive as Finley's, but Thorson also played with lesser talent. Side note, Thorson went to the same high school as former Lions quarterback Chuck Long.
► Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis
A part of one of the most-exciting backfield tandems in college football last season, Pollard is a big-play ball carrier with receiving potential. He averaged more than 30 catches and 6.8 yards per carry the past three seasons.
► Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn
While the accuracy hasn't always been consistent, Matthew Stafford has always had the arm strength to throw the long ball. Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay are both capable of stretching the field, but if either goes down, like Jones did last season, that element of the passing attack suffers. Slayton could keep it afloat. The speedster averaged over 20 yards per catch during his college carer.
► Michael Jordan, OL, Ohio State
In the third day, it's about finding versatility along the offensive line. Jordan started at both guard and center for the Buckeyes. At 6-foot-6, he's tall for an interior lineman, which could lead to some leverage issues against technically-sound defensive tackles.
► Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan
We're always going to try to squeeze in a local product into these lists. Crosby was highly productive for the Eagles, racking up more than 35 tackles behind the line and forcing eight fumbles over the past two seasons. Add in his impressive athletic testing at the combine and you have an intriguing developmental prospect on your hands. The only concern is his shorter than desired arm length for Detroit's scheme.
► Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston
If Johnson was more technically proficient he'd be long gone. At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, with 4.4 speed, he checks a lot of boxes otherwise. His production has been somewhat disappointing, with four interceptions and 12 pass defenses in 22 games over two seasons.
► Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State
A big, long, explosive interior lineman capable of maintaining two gaps, Wren would give the Lions some insurance at defensive tackle if they can't agree to terms on an extension with A'Shawn Robinson at the end of the season.
► Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
Also standing 6-foot-2, Oruwariye isn't quite as fast or agile as Johnson, but has a better feel for locating the ball, picking off seven passes the past two years.
► Ross Pierschbacher, OL, Alabama
Another versatile lineman from a top conference, Pierschbacher has four years of starting experience, playing the first three at guard before moving to center in 2018.