Sunday, February 26, 2012

Five to Watch: Safeties

This is the fifth part of a five part series leading up to the 2012 combine. Keep an eye out this week for each article examining prospects the Detroit Lions may be interested in drafting come April.

Mock drafts abound in our post-Super Bowl slump as we eagerly await the 2012 draft. The combine is this coming weekend and promises to shake up everyone's boards.

Between Louis Delmas's injuries, Amari Spievey's struggles on the field, and the Lions' inability to bring in a quality veteran they need a solid prospect at Safety. A first round pick is out of the question, but here are some later round possibilities to keep your eye on:

George Iloka, Boise State (6'3", 216)

It's possible that Iloka falls somewhere between the 5th and 7th rounds. If that's the case the Lions would be wise to pull the trigger on this guy. He needs time to develop, but looks like the has the skills to play the run well and match up with tight ends.

Harrison Smith, Notre Dame (6'2", 214)

Smith is pegged as a 4th or 5th round pick, but a solid 40 time could really raise his draft stock because of his size. For the Lions' purposes I feel like Smith would fill a role similar to how they use Delmas now, so they may not go after him. However, Delmas's injury history should push them to pick up some much needed depth at the position.

Tony Dye, UCLA (6'0", 216)

Dye's season was mostly wiped out by a neck injury so he's entering the draft as a bit of a risk, but he was productive before that. If nothing else, Dye would be a great special teams player with high upside. Even if Spievey turns his play around the Lions are hurting for quality depth.

Kelcie McCray, Arkansas State (6'2", 195)

McCray is being projected to go in a late round or possibly even undrafted. I think he'd be an excellent developmental prospect for the Lions if he does undrafted. McCray looks like he has good coverage ability, but the rest of his game is lacking.

Antonio Allen, South Carolina (6'2", 202)

Allen is being projected to go in the third round, but he looks to project as a special teams guy more than anything. He's an in-the-box safety with poor coverage skills. The Lions can do much better than to take a flier on Allen, but maybe they'll end up seeing something different in him.

(For what it's worth Walter Football has the Lions selecting Allen with their third round pick)

Coverage of Defensive Backs workouts begins at 9:00am on Tuesday, February 28 on the NFL Network and NFL.com.

Are there any other Safeties in the draft that we should be keeping an eye on? Leave a comment and let everyone know who you're looking forward to seeing this weekend.

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