10 prospects who make sense for Lions at 20

The Detroit Lions and general manager Bob Quinn are in a nearly similar spot as last year drafting around the bottom third of the draft at No. 20. Last year, the Lions stayed put and selected linebacker Jarrad Davis at No. 21.

This is a hard area of the draft to predict because it’s tough to say who will be left on the board and who might slip down the board when the Lions are on the clock. Quinn recently said he has a good idea of five or six players that could be available in that slot.

If the Lions stay at No. 20, here are 10 names who could potentially be a fit:

Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

Davenport is a raw prospect but has great size, length and athleticism. He was more of a stand-up rusher at San Antonio, but there’s some versatility to his game. He could be an interesting rusher opposite Ziggy Ansah, and potentially the future of the position in Detroit depending on Ansah’s future with the club. Lions defensive line coach Bo Davis was Davenport’s defensive line coach at UTSA last season.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

He’s drawn comparisons to Marshawn Lynch in that he’s a nice blend of explosiveness and power. He runs low and gets north and south, which seems to fit what the Lions are looking for after signing veteran LeGarrette Blount in free agency. Blount is on a one-year deal, and the Lions could look to add a power rusher for the long term. The fact that this is a very deep class of rushers could prompt Quinn to address other needs at No. 20 and double back at running back on Day 2, but Guice could certainly be in the mix.

Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

The Lions are an interior lineman and running back away from really being set on offense for the 2018 season. Hernandez is a road grader at the position, and should immediately make an impact in the run game. At the Senior Bowl, he was also good in one-on-one pass-rushing drills, as he has uncharacteristically light feet for man who tips the scales at more than 340 pounds.

Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

The Lions are likely to have a pretty good scouting report on Landry from defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, who was Landry’s defensive line coach at BC last season. Landry dealt with an injured ankle last year, but as a junior he led the nation with 16.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. He isn’t the biggest pass rusher available (6-3, 252) but he might be the best pure pass rusher and a player a creative defensive mind can move around as both a hand in the dirt and stand-up rusher to take advantage of mismatches.

Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Like Landry and Davenport, the Lions will have a good scouting report on Payne from Davis, who formerly coached him at Alabama when he was a freshman. Payne is a big, run-stuffing interior defender with some upside as a pass rusher. Lions head coach Matt Patricia wants to build from the ball out, and has expressed a desire to be strong up the middle. Payne is a good place to start.

James Daniels, C, Iowa

Daniels is probably the best pure center available in this draft. He’s a strong technician with extremely nimble feet. He also has some experience playing guard, just like Lions third-year player Graham Glasgow. Drafting Daniels would give the Lions options at both center and left guard, and give the club two versatile pieces inside.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

Michel runs with a terrific blend of power and quickness for a player 220 pounds. He can run inside, and has enough giddy up to catch the edge. Michel has drawn some comparisons to Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara for his ability to be a three-down player at this level. Michel ran for 98 yards on just 11 carries (7.0 average) in the National Championship Game against a very good Alabama defense. A week prior in the semifinal vs. Oklahoma, Michel ran for 181 yards on 11 carries and caught four passes for 41 yards. That’s big-time production in big-time moments.

Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Like Davenport, Bryan is a bit raw, but he’s a terrific athlete at the position. He’s strong as an ox, and bursts out of his stance to cause problems in the offensive backfield. He’s a player who seems to be just starting to scratch the surface of what he can be. Teams are always on the lookout for interior pass rushers, and Bryan could develop into a pretty good one with some seasoning.

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Vander Esch is a long, fast linebacker that is coming off a very productive junior season as a first-year starter. The Lions made it a priority to get bigger at the linebacker position this offseason, and Vander Esch (6-4, 256) has ideal size for a defensive scheme that wants to be multiple. He racked up 141 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks this past season, and had a terrific combine with a 39.5 vertical, 4.65-second 40 and 124-inch broad jump. The Lions could be in business at LB with Davis, Devon Kennard, Christian Jones and Vander Esch.

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

The medicals have to really check out on this one after a heart problem forced him to sit out of the Combine. He was cleared by medical staffs at Harvard and Michigan to be able to participate in his pro day at Michigan, but teams are obviously going to do their homework on the medicals. If everything checks out, and there haven’t been any pre-draft reports that have said they haven’t, Hurst is probably the most pro-ready interior pass rusher in this class. He made a living at Michigan spending his time in the opponent backfield. He’s an ideal three-technique player with elite get off.

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