Five possible Detroit Lions 2020 draft prospects: Week 7
Allen Park — Each week 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 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.
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma (No. 9)
No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Texas | Noon | FOX
Pull up Murray's profile and the tackle totals are going to jump out at you. As a sophomore last season, he racked up 155 stops, including 12.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Listed at 6-foot-2, 243 pounds, he possesses an NFL-ready frame, plus he has experience playing both inside and outside spots, giving him the versatility coaches crave.
Murray's sideline-to-sideline speed helps him make plays on the perimeter and handle coverage responsibilities adequately. He makes plenty of plays coming downhill, but some analyst scouting reports criticize him for being overly patient processing his keys, which allows offensive linemen to occasionally eliminate him from plays.
Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama (No. 99)
No. 1 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
A'Shawn Robinson has been outstanding the past two seasons and it would make sense for the Lions to push to re-sign the impending free agent. But if the dollars don't make sense, the team could always look to replace one Alabama lineman with another.
Formerly projected to be a high first-round selection, Davis disappointed last season and returned to school, in part to rebuild the resume. The tackle numbers have rebounded to begin the 2019 campaign, but the impact plays are still lacking, with just one of his 25 stops coming behind the line of scrimmage.
Alabama's system often suppresses counting stats for its interior linemen, but there's significant schematic overlap with what the Lions do up front, making Davis a plug-and-play option, if they go that route.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (No. 23)
Michigan State at No. 8 Wisconsin | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
The Lions don't have a pressing need at running back. Kerryon Johnson is proving he can shoulder a larger load, while Ty Johnson has shown potential worth developing. But you don't ignore value in the draft based on potential, and if you can lessen the wear and tear on Kerryon, without hindering the offense, there are obvious long-term benefits.
Let's pretend Taylor is available to the Lions in the second round next April. Shouldn't the team at least consider the option? Establishing himself as a strong Heisman contender, he's currently averaging 7.2 yards per carry, while tallying 859 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.
If he can produce at a similar level against Michigan State's vaunted defense, Taylor's stock only stands to rise.
Netane Muti, G, Fresno State (No. 52)
Fresno State at Air Force | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
Returning from a ruptured Achilles is one of the more difficult rehabs for a football player, but Muti hasn't missed a beat after sitting out much of the 2018 season. A versatile and powerful prospect, he started at left guard as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and was playing left tackle at the time of his injury.
Flexible and physical, Muti does a great job keeping pass-rush pressure away from his quarterback and is relentless with his blocking assignments to the whistle.
The Lions have familiarity with the program, bringing in Muti's former lineman, Micah St. Andrew, to camp this offseason.
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (No. 22)
No. 7 Florida at No. 5 LSU | 8 p.m. | ESPN
This might feel like a weekly reminder, but the Lions don't really have a long-term option in place opposite Darius Slay. Rashaan Melvin continues to perform well, but he's on a one-year deal, and it's far too early to declare 2018 fifth-round pick Amani Oruwariye, who has yet to play a defensive snap, a solution.
If the Lions find themselves drafting in the middle of the first round or later, that's a good place to be shopping for defensive backs. Fulton has desirable measurables for the position, standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 192 pounds, and comes from a man-coverage scheme that should ease a transition into Detroit's defense.
His coverage numbers are astounding. No corner allowed fewer first downs last season. What's holding him back are red flags, both for injuries and off-filed issues. He was suspended a full season for tampering with a drug test in 2017 and has been limited by foot, shoulder and ankle injuries during his time with the Tigers. The vetting process will be important with this prospect.