We’re getting closer and closer to draft season and bowl season. So this week we’re going to start something new for our Detroit Lions coverage. Every week we’ll pick five players from the NCAA’s top 25 to watch for the Lions. Five guys that we think would go really well with the Lions in April. Let’s jump into it.
Johnny Wilson, WR, Florida State
Right off the bat I’m going with my favorite guy to watch right now. Every year I find myself a draft crush and roll with that guy until the draft in hopes that the Lions select him. This year it’s Florida State’s Johnny Wilson.
The 6-foot-7 receiver is a mammoth of man, but doesn’t move like a mammoth. he flies down field like a guy that’s half his size. Speaking of flying, the man has a 35-inch vertical leap. He’s the kind of guy that the Lions can highpoint in the end zone and watch him take down a contested catch. Something the Lions just don’t have right now.
Saturday’s Game: Florida State vs North Alabama and 6:30PM ET on The CW
Kris Jenkins, DL, Michigan
Hey, you’ll probably be watching this game anyways right? The Lions have one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL in Alim McNeill. What they don’t have is someone next to him that can help cause problems. Michigan’s Kris Jenkins can be that guy for the Lions.
Jenkins has gotten better and better as the years have gone by. He’s playing his best football right now and there’s a strong chance he could go on day one when it’s all said and done. The Lions could really use him for his run stopping ability and the pass rush prowess he’s able to bring.
Saturday’s Game: Michigan vs Maryland at 12PM ET on Fox
Bralen Trice, Edge, Washington
Aidan Hutchinson really needs some help. The casual fan will tell you that he’s not as good as we thought he would be. The people who understand football know that this guy is being mugged in a alleyway every time he rushes the passer. He’s being double teamed constantly and if that’s not happening, someone usually has their arm around his neck or he’s being held in some way. The Lions need someone who can take advantage of that attention.
Washington’s Trice is definitely one of those guys. Trice currently has an 89.6 pass rush grade per Pro Football Focus. He’s not getting to the quarterback as much as he did in 2022, but a lot of that comes from the fact that he’s getting the same type of treatment that Hutchinson is getting. If the Lions had two of those guys, one of them is going to win more often than not.
Saturday’s Game: Washington vs Oregon State at 7:30 PM ET on ABC
Kalen King, CB, Penn State
This is an interesting one becasue the Lions may have actually already went out to see him this year.
The Lions need help at corner. They don’t have that guy that can be a definitive cornerback one on their team right now. King is a guy that has the ability to become that guy. King is having something of a down year after a near dominant 2022 season. But that could work in the Lions favor since he’ll be able to fall to them in the back half of the first-round. Get him with Dre Bly and I think Bly could get him right back on track.
Saturday’s Game: Penn State vs Rutgers at 12PM ET on FS1
Javon Bullard, S, Georgia
There’s some significant questions about the future of the Lions safety room. Will C.J. Gardner-Johnson come back? Will the Lions hold on to Tracy Walker after next season and can any of their depth pieces take the next step? I don’t know when those questions will be answered, but here’s a guy that can make a difference from day one.
Bullard has been phenomenal on the number one football team in the country for the last three years. He’s a guy that’s going to go on day two for sure. The Lions should be there to scoop him up in that area. Maybe even with that extra pick they got from the Vikings if he slips to the third round. Bullard could be a day one starter for the Lions if the team is unable to bring back Gardner-Johnson.
Saturday’s Game: Georgia vs Tennessee at 3:30PM ET on CBS