NFL draft: 10 players the Detroit Lions could target on Day 3

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions have two picks left in the final four rounds of today’s NFL draft, No. 152 in Round 5 and 249 in Round 7. Here are 10 players they could target with their picks.

OG Chandler Zavala, North Carolina State – The Lions addressed their most glaring positional needs in Rounds 1-3, but they have not done anything yet to beef up the interior of their offensive line. Zavala is one of at least six linemen who made top 30 visits to Detroit. He’s a non-combine invite who started his career in Division II and whose medical history of knee and back injuries could make him available in Round 5.

OL Jordan McFadden, Clemson – Another lineman who visited Detroit, McFadden checks the character box as a three-year starter and team captain. He has experience at both tackle spots, but at 6 feet 2 could move inside to guard if a team thinks it could add weight to his 303-pound frame.

K Chad Ryland, Maryland – The San Francisco 49ers took Michigan kicker Jake Moody late in Round 3, leaving Ryland as the best kicker left in the draft. Ryland started his career at Eastern Michigan before transferring to Maryland. He was 19 for 23 on field goals last season with three makes from 50-plus yards.

More: The link that binds top specialists Chad Ryland, Bryce Baringer, Jake Moody in NFL draft

K Christopher Dunn, North Carolina State – Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said accuracy by a college kicker is the greatest predictor of future NFL success, and there was no one better than Dunn last season, who made 28 of 29 kicks with a long of 53 yards.

DE BJ Thompson, Stephen F. Austin – Thompson is the sort of developmental prospect who could be in the mix for the Lions in the seventh round. The 6-foot-6 edge rusher blocked three kicks at Baylor in 2018 and had a 9.5-sack season at Stephen F. Austin.

CB Jakorian Bennett, Maryland – Bennett played in the shadows of his teammate and first-round pick Deonte Banks, but he checks a lot of boxes for the Lions. He started two seasons at Maryland as a junior college transfer, was a team captain who had three interceptions in 2021, and was second-fastest player at the NFL combine, running a 4.3-second 40-yard dash.

LB Noah Sewell, Oregon – The Lions took care of their linebacker need in Round 1, but they have one spot left in their three-deep at the position. A three-year starter who never quite built on the momentum from a standout freshman season, Sewell is the younger brother of Lions right tackle Penei Sewell.

WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska – The Lions need to add at least one receiver in the final four rounds or as an undrafted free agent due to the gambling suspensions that came down last week. Palmer, an LSU transfer, is a still-raw deep threat who was one of the fastest receivers at the combine (4.33 seconds).

WR Elijah Higgins, Stanford – Unless the Lions trade up, they probably won’t have a chance at some of the top receivers remaining like Charlie Jones and A.T. Perry. Higgins wasn’t as productive as either of those players, but he’s a big body (6-3, 235 pounds) who tested well at the combine and might have special teams value.

RB Evan Hull, Northwestern – If the Lions move on from D’Andre Swift, now or after they draft, they’ll have room for another running back on their roster. Hull did a little bit of everything at Northwestern. He caught passes, ran the ball and played on special teams. Like some others on this list, he also was a team captain.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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