Five possible Detroit Lions 2020 draft prospects: Week 2

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
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JD Spielman

Allen Park — Each week during the college football season, we'll be highlighting five prospects with locally-televised matchups who could be a fit for the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft, based on the team's projected needs.

Every week, the list will aim to highlight a variety of early-, mid- and late-round prospects. This will give you a chance to watch the players performing live, instead of playing catch-up the weeks before the draft.

JD Spielman, WR, Nebraska (No. 10)

No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado | 3:30 p.m. | FOX

The Lions got great returns the last time they drafted a Spielman, and while JD doesn't share Chris' bloodlines, they are family as JD is the adopted son of Rick Spielman, Chris' brother and the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings. 

This isn't forcing a square peg in a round hole based on name recognition. JD Spielman could potentially fill a void in Detroit's 2020 roster as a playmaking slot receiver, the heir apparent to Danny Amendola, if you will. 

Last year, Spielman caught 66 passes for 818 yards in 10 games. He also has some punt return ability on the resume, bringing back two for touchdowns on just 10 attempts, including a 76-yard effort in Nebraska's opener a week ago. 

Travis Etienne

Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (No. 9)

No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson | 3:30 p.m. | ABC

In some of those ridiculous, way-too-early mock drafts posted in the days after the most-recent draft, Etienne was a name slotted to the Lions a couple of times. 

And while it might seem ridiculous for Detroit to invest a first-round pick into a backfield that already has a pretty solid starting option in Kerryon Johnson, it's fair to point out that running back is a two-man job, at the very least, in the modern NFL. 

In Clemson's opener, Etienne averaged a ridiculous 17.1 yards per carry, scoring three touchdowns in the thumping of Georgia Tech. He's electric with the ball in his hands, and his addition would instantly make Detroit's backfield one of the league's best. 

The selection would unquestionably be a tough sell, even more so if Ty Johnson proves to be a capable complement during his rookie year with the Lions. Despite that, it doesn't mean it isn't worth your time to get your eyes on Etienne at least once this year. 

Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU (No. 79)

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas | 7:30 p.m. | ABC

OK, let's be real, Cushenberry should be on the radar for his name alone. It's just fantastic. But so is his play. He's one of the best interior lineman in football, and his ability to play center means he should have down the necessary footwork to make the transition to either guard spot. 

The biggest appeal with Cushenberry is his athleticism. You can put him on the move, vertically or laterally on a pull, and count on him to get the job done. If Joe Dahl stalls with his opportunity to start in 2019, the Lions would be wise to invest another early pick on the interior of its offensive front. 

Trey Adams

Trey Adams, OT, Washington (No. 72)

California at No. 14 Washington | 10:30 p.m. | FS1

Adams is really, really good. A long, fluid lineman who has the desired footwork to handle stylistically different edge rushers, he could provide a quality, long-term blindside option for many organizations. The problem, and it's significant, is his durability. He tore his ACL two years ago and had a back injury sideline him much of 2018.

That inability to stay on the field the past two years could push a first-round talent into the middle of the draft, where it becomes worthwhile to chance the risk. Plus, bonus points for his willingness to rock an epic mullet in his official team photo

Darrell Taylor, Edge, Tennessee

BYU at Tennessee | 7 p.m. | ESPN

At this point, it's tough to say how much Detroit will need help on the edges in 2020. Trey Flowers is locked up long-term and Devon Kennard and Romeo Okwara will each be under contract that season. There's also 2019 fourth-round pick Austin Bryant. 

But you can never have enough talent capable of getting after the quarterback. 

Tennessee might be a tough sell for any college football fan wanting to watch a good game this season, but Taylor has some juice as a prospect. The 6-foot-4, 256-pounder is better suited for the weakside edge, with good athleticism and bend to trouble right tackles.

Taylor tallied 11 sacks and 29 total QB pressures a year ago and will look to build on that in 2019. 

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