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2023 Lions Draft Board: Why Eli Ricks Is CB to Watch

Prior to training camp and throughout the 2022 NFL season, AllLions will preview college players that general manager Brad Holmes could target.

Defensive back Eli Ricks, who is a product of IMG Academy and played at LSU, is a player the Alabama Crimson Tide are counting on to contribute at a high level in 2022. 

At LSU, he secured 20 tackles and four interceptions. 

As a freshman, he was named a freshman All American, and earned All-SEC second team honors. 

At IMG, he was regarded as the top prospect in the entire state of Florida, and earned five-star ratings as a cornerback prospect. 

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According to SI's NFL Draft Bible, "Uses his length at the line of scrimmage, disrupting route timing. No issue when asked to turn and run. Unthreatened in man coverage, via vertical or underneath concepts. Plays through the receiver at the catch point, generating pass breakups. Comfortable with the ball in the air, beating receivers to high point for interceptions. Quality body control with the ability to contort, and snatch the football. Can anticipate route combinations, working off his spot to help alleviate zone tendencies and create winning plays for the defense. Skimpy frame that can add mass. Tends to bite on double moves early, correcting it later. Feet get stuck on reactionary movements, leading to balance issues."

One aspect of his game that Ricks will need to sure up during his tenure at Alabama is being more productive against the run game

On film, Ricks appears to lack elite foot speed, and needs to significantly improve his tackling. 

It was observed that the 20-year-old defensive back could be easily blocked out of the play by the opposition. 

Detroit's roster features several young defensive backs looking to take the next step in their respective careers. The position is still likely in need of talent, so monitoring Ricks' progress over the next several months should benefit the coaching staff.