2022 NFL draft prospects for the Lions to watch this weekend

·7 min read

College football continues to bring us thrilling games and surprises every Saturday. We’re getting a better idea of the different levels of NFL draft prospects among the college players with each passing week.

This week’s Lions draft watch takes a look at some of the deeper prospects. There are some possible top-50 talents here, but most are Day 3-caliber players at positions where the Lions figure to be looking for youthful upgrades and potential at their positions.

Draft prospects for the Lions to watch in college Week 6

NFL draft prospects for the Lions to watch in college football Week 5

DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas

Ricardo B. Brazziell-USA TODAY NETWORK

Overshown put on a show in the Red River Rivalry, doing a little bit of everything for Texas’ defense in the loss to Oklahoma. The speedy inside backer does that consistently with a keen playmaking mentality.

As an off-ball backer, Overshown is long (6-foot-4) but light (a listed 223 pounds that seems generous). He gets another chance to show his versatility and tackling prowess against a good Oklahoma State team (12 p.m., FOX). Overshown is generally projected as a 3rd-4th round player at this point.

Zachary Carter, DL, Florida

Carter leads not only the Gators but the entire SEC in sacks with 5.5 through the first six weeks. It’s some impressive production from the positionally versatile Florida lineman.

He can definitely play. The question for the NFL is where does Carter line up? At 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, he’s a bit of a positional tweener; too bulky to line up at outside LB, not stout enough to play as a 3-technique tackle. The Lions happen to have the position perfectly suited for Carter, the hybrid role currently occupied by Nick Williams. Playing roughly 45 percent at interior tackle and 55 percent on the outside shoulder of the guard (or beyond), that’s where Carter can fit in the NFL. He’s a borderline top-50 prospect at this point.

Carter and the Gators head to Baton Rouge to play LSU (12 p.m. ESPN) on Saturday.

Emeka Emezie, WR, North Carolina State

(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

At some point in the Wolfpack’s showdown at Boston College (7:30 p.m. ACC Network), Emezie will become North Carolina State’s all-time receptions leader.

If he has a game like he did two weeks ago against Clemson (14 catches, 116 yards), it will happen quickly. Emezie is a big target (6-2/220) with outstanding hands — he didn’t drop a single pass in 2020. He’s physical, smart and has polished route skills.

Emezie is a middle-round prospect who lacks elite athletic traits. He’s got the trappings of an effective “heavy” slot receiver who can also line up outside and make an impact with his hands and blocking, a la Rashard Higgins of the Browns.

Luke Goedeke, OT, Central Michigan

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Central Michigan doesn’t get a lot of attention, not even for a MAC team, but NFL teams (including the Lions) have trekked to Mt. Pleasant to check out Goedeke and his game. After missing the entire 2020 season with a knee injury, the former tight end at D-III Wisconsin-Stevens Point is playing tackle very well for the Chippewas. He’s much more physical than you would expect for a converted tight end, and his hand placement is very good too.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Goedeke plays right tackle for CMU because they have another legit NFL draft prospect a left tackle. Bernhard Reimann, an Austrian native, is another converted tight end who will be a draft-worthy prospect in 2023.

They’re both in action against Toledo (3:30 p.m., CBSSN) in a key game in the MAC West.

Noah Daniels, CB, TCU

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Daniels is expected to play for just the second time this season when the Horned Frogs take on Oklahoma (7:30 p.m. CBS). He’s capable of standing out for the TCU defense.

The senior missed the final five games of last year and the first four this season with injuries. He’s battled them his entire career in Ft. Worth, which lowers his draft profile. If he can ever stay healthy, Daniels is a top-shelf cover corner and a member of Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list of athletes at The Athletic. At 6-0 and 193 pounds, Daniels can bench 400 pounds and has run a laser-timed 4.27 40-yard dash.

Before his injury in 2020, Daniels was the top-graded cornerback in the country from Pro Football Focus. He’s got his hands full against the explosive Sooners offense, but Daniels is capable of showing why he’s draft-worthy even with the injury history.

Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Ezukamna leads the Red Raiders in receptions and yards, but his production has been inconsistent from game to game. Much of that isn’t the junior’s fault, however; Ezukanma has battled inaccurate QB play and weird personnel usage on the Texas Tech offense.

When they’ve featured him, Ezukanma has delivered. Long and strong at 6-foot-3 and 220 listed pounds, he’s got very quick feet for a longer receiver and gets to top speed in just a couple of steps. Ezukanma is good in the red zone and can work on both quick-hit passes and deep outside routes.

He’s got a nice matchup against Kansas (4 p.m., ESPN+) to add to the production total and keep himself in the conversation as a potential Day 2 prospect. Ezukanma is the kind of prospect who could emerge as a better pro than collegian, a la former Lions standout Marvin Jones.

Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bellinger is included here as a bonus. He and the Aztecs played San Jose State late Friday night, and the Lions did indeed have a scouting presence at the game. Bellinger caught five passes for 34 yards in the 19-13 victory.

Bellinger doesn’t get a lot of accurate throws his way, but he’s a big target (6-foot-6, 260 pounds) who has shown he’s got soft hands when given the chance. He’s a very physical in-line blocking presence, adept already at getting out to the second level and engaging linebackers in the run game. Bellinger projects as a late-round prospect or possibly even priority free agent, but he has a lot of potential to emerge as a quality NFL TE next to an established starter and standout like T.J. Hockenson — the only TE on the Lions roster heading into 2022.

Leon O'Neal Jr., S, Texas A&M

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

O’Neal garnered quite a bit of attention in the Aggies’ upset win over Alabama last week with an exceptional sack and also a key fumble recovery. Anyone who has watched O’Neal at Texas A&M knows the hard hits and timely big plays are nothing new.

A 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety with a polished nose for the ball, O’Neal is at his best playing inside the tackle box and attacking downhill at anything that moves in front of him. He does have some open-field fluidity, enough to turn and run with tight ends and running backs in the passing game.

The Aggies look to build upon the huge win last week with a trip to Missouri (12 p.m. SEC Network). Watch for O’Neal’s impact in the run game, where he effectively serves as a de facto extra linebacker.

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