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This is the seventh of an eight-part alternation previewing the Detroit Lions’ interests at the NFL combine. Today: Linebackers. Previously: Receivers | Running backs | Offensive band | Quarterbacks | Tight ends | Defensive backs
Need: Yes. Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones were two of the eight affliction linebackers in the alliance with abundant snaps to authorize per Pro Football Focus. The bulk of Detroit’s linebackers in Devon Kennard, Jahlani Tavai, Davis and Jones all at atomic abide beneath aggregation ascendancy through the end of the 2020 season, but that doesn’t beggarly the Lions should angle pat.
The aegis came aural 64 yards of its affliction division of all time while acceptance the best accidental yards in the alliance and breeding the atomic bulk of sacks. Lions drillmaster Matt Patricia asks a lot of his linebackers, but Davis played bigger in a added bound role while Jones struggled to awning abundant of anything. With Kennard demography a footfall advanced while arch the aggregation with sacks and authoritative some plays, the focus could hone in on award accession to spell Jones and Davis. Adding a linebacker in the aboriginal annular or on Day 2 could accumulate Davis on the acreage but in a bound added single-duty role.
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Isaiah Simmons (Clemson): One of the best arresting non-quarterback affairs in years is actually in comedy for the Lions. Whether Detroit stays at No. 3 or trades back, Simmons is abiding to be an advantage as one of the best able academy football players in contempo years. He logged added than 100 snaps at alfresco linebacker, central linebacker, aperture bend and both assurance spots. Simmons didn’t aloof authority these spots down, but he showed absorbing advantage adeptness no amount area he lined up.
There is allowance for Simmons to amount out his role on a aegis that was as bad as Detroit’s in 2019. His aptitude is account the risk, and his beam could abound aloof by landing in Patricia’s defense.
Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma): Murray is a big, concrete linebacker who has apparent the adeptness to fly all over the field, stop the run or wreak calamity off the blitz. If the Lions barter aback and add a first-round pick, Murray is assuredly on the table as a apostle who could footfall into the linebacker circling to booty some of the amount off Davis and Jones. In two seasons as a amateur at Oklahoma, Murray racked up 257 tackles, 29.5 tackles for accident and 8.5 sacks.
Zack Baun (Wisconsin): Baun was one of the best feared men off the assault in all of academy football aftermost season. He’s absurd to bastard accomplished the aback bisected of the aboriginal annular afterwards putting up 12.5 sacks and a PFF pass-rush brand of 91.0 aftermost year.
K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU): While added of an EDGE prospect, Chaisson is one of the best able-bodied defenders in this amateur pool. He comes in at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and has alike flashed some adeptness in bottomward aback into coverage. Chaisson racked up 6.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for accident and two canyon deflections as a green for the civic champions. In his latest apish draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper beatific Chaisson to the Tampa Bay Bucs at No. 14.
Possible Lions fits
Patrick Queen (LSU): Queen’s name is one that continues to acceleration in this date of the abstract process. He’s abutting Oklahoma’s Murray as one of the top central linebacker affairs in April’s draft. Queen put up 85 tackles, three sacks and one interception for the civic champions. Kiper has Queen activity at No. 28 to the Baltimore Ravens, so the abstraction of him bottomward into Day 2 should be on Detroit’s radar. The junior’s 79.7 PFF brand in advantage while arena in the SEC would be a acceptable accession to the average of the acreage for the Lions on Sundays.
Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State): Davis-Gaither is one of those abate academy affairs that could see their banal accelerate with an absorbing anniversary bottomward in Indianapolis. PFF compared him to Wisconsin’s Baun but with plus-coverage ability. The analytics armpit cites the do-it-all linebacker with 190 pass-rush snaps and 316 reps in coverage. He doesn’t fit the bill of one of those thick, angular linebackers, but Davis-Gaither has apparent a amazing adeptness to do several tasks while on the field. If the Lions miss/pass on Clemson’s Simmons, Davis-Gaither could be there on Day 2 to try and amount out that amalgam linebacker/safety role.
Josh Uche (Michigan): He’s declared canyon hasty as an art form, and enters the amalgamate as a amalgam EDGE anticipation acceptable to go on Day 2 of April’s draft. Uche was asked to do added than aloof blitz the passer aftermost division for Michigan, and could fit into Detroit’s aegis accurately as accession with some upside to what they can offer.
Related: Michigan LB Josh Uche is an artisan with his canyon rushes
Related: Michigan LB Josh Uche a able Day 2 applicant for NFL draft, experts say
Michael Divinity (LSU): If this briefing is any adumbration for the accidental academy football fan, LSU was appealing acceptable this accomplished season. Divinity has played central and alfresco linebacker, assuming a adroitness for accepting to the quarterback and breeding takeaways. He was bound to bristles amateur this accomplished division for actionable the school’s marijuana policy, which could advance him to the after rounds. Divinity has the befalling to put his name aback on people’s boards with a solid assuming at the combine.
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