Five possible Detroit Lions 2020 draft prospects: Week 9
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.
Chase Young, DE, Ohio State (No. 2)
No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State | 12 p.m. | FOX
OK, let's be realistic, even with Detroit's recent struggles, they'd have to extend into unexpected territory for the Lions have to a realistic shot of adding Young, who is almost certain to be off the board in the first five picks.
But seriously, I'm doing you a disservice if I don't recommend you check him out at least once this season. The next in a growing line of talented edge rushers to come out of Ohio State, Young would certainly solve one of Detroit's biggest issues, the defense's inability to get to the quarterback.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder already has 9.5 sacks through three games and is well on his way to earning first-team All-American honors.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty (No. 11)
Liberty at Rutgers | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
There aren't going to be many opportunities beyond this weekend to catch Liberty in action, so feel free to take a peek at Gandy-Golden while you have the chance.
Coming from a non-traditional football program, he's hardly flying under the radar. The first thing that stands out is the frame. Gandy-Golden is listed as 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. And he knows how to put it to use. A year after catching 77 balls and 10 scores, he's up to 43 and five through seven games this year.
The biggest difference has been the per-catch impact. In 2018, he averaged 14.6 yards per grab. This year, that's jumped to 20.4 yards.
Like current Lions receiver Marvin Jones, Gandy-Golden has a knack for using his body to shield defenders while effectively tracking and high-pointing deep throws.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (No. 5)
No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
The Lions were supposed to have a dominant defensive tackle rotation this season, but that has yet to come to fruition. A large part of the issue has been health, with both Da'Shawn Hand and Mike Daniels missing extensive time. They should be back soon, but the rotation is set up to have a different look in 2020.
First and foremost, both Daniels and A'Shawn Robinson are on track to be free agents. The emergence of undrafted free agent Kevin Strong could lessen the otherwise urgent need, but the Lions could still use more impact from its interior rush.
Brown would have been a top-50 pick a year ago, but he went back to school and has improved his stock. He does a little bit of everything, including getting after the quarterback, forcing fumbles and batting passes down at the line. Like Daniels, Brown can collapse a pocket, and that's a skill the Lions need.
A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State (No. 4)
Oklahoma State at No. 23 Iowa State | 3:30 p.m. | FS1
The Lions could be in the market for a tall, long outside corner if they opt not to re-sign Rashaan Melvin, who is operating on a one-year contract. Green fits the bill, measuring in at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds.
Green uses his length to make life difficult on opposing receivers. No corner forced more incompletions in the Big 12 last season, and it wasn't particularly close, at least according to Pro Football Focus,
A pick-six earlier this season marked Green's sixth interception of his college career.
Zack Moss, RB, Utah (No. 2)
California at No. 12 Utah | 10 p.m. | FS1
While there's little reason to doubt that the Lions still see Kerryon Johnson as the team's long-term solution at running back, his durability issues raise a legitimate need for a reliable complement to the rotation.
Maybe that's Ty Johnson, the team's sixth-round pick this year, but until he proves it on the field, the Lions should keep a close eye on potential upgrades.
Moss has been running hard for the 12th-ranked Utes, churning out 613 yards on 6.6 yards per carry through six games. The 222-pounder is a physical back who picks up a lot of his yardage after contact. That skill would play well in Detroit, where the team has struggled to develop a reliable blocking scheme that opens consistent lanes for its runners.