3 Senior Bowl Linebacker Prospects for the Lions
Senior Bowl practices began in Mobile on Tuesday of this week. When looking at potential fits for off-ball linebackers in the Detroit Lions defensive scheme, size is paramount.
With the Lions top four linebackers under contract in 2020, it's tough to envision general manager Bob Quinn pulling the trigger on a player in the early rounds.
That's not to say the position doesn't need to be upgraded, but it would appear the Lions like their linebacking corps a lot more than most fans.
Let's take a look at a few targets on the North squad that Detroit could consider in the upcoming draft.
LB Zack Baun, Wisconsin
HT: 6'3 | WT: 240 pounds
Baun offers a unique skill set the Lions will love. Quinn has mentioned in the past the importance of their linebackers being able to play all the linebacker positions -- including the JACK backer role on the edge.
Rushing the passer is what Baun was best known for at Wisconsin. He didn't look out of place in limited coverage snaps either.
The concern was his size, and still is if he wants to make his money rushing the quarterback. In saying that, Baun is athletic enough and saw more than a few snaps as an off-ball linebacker. His best fit in the NFL would likely be as a SAM or MIKE linebacker.
His position switch is a bit of a projection, but the versatility and size align with the Lions' requisites at the LB position.
LB Malik Harrison, Ohio State
HT: 6'3 | WT: 246 pounds
The heaviest of the off-ball linebackers at the Senior Bowl, Harrison is known more for his run-stopping abilities.
He doesn't have any issues taking on linemen and maintaining gap control, which his very important in Matt Patricia's scheme.
Due to limited athletic ability, he is likely only a two-down middle backer, but that hasn't stopped Patricia and the Lions from bringing aboard these types of players.
In the blitzing department, the Ohio State product was productive. Per Pro Football Focus, Harrison produced 38 pressures on just 168 pass-rushing attempts.
With his negative traits, Harrison will likely be a later round selection and projected in an area of the draft that Quinn would be willing to select another linebacker.
LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming
HT: 6'2 | WT: 241 pounds
Wilson came to Mobile a little lighter than expected. Listed at 250-pounds on Wyoming's roster, he might have tried to shed some weight in order to perform better during one-on-one coverage drills.
He wasn't asked to play too much man coverage while at Wyoming, but he still was able to rack up a whopping ten interceptions in his collegiate career.
The playmaker gene is definitely there. Wilson is one of the best run defenders in the class. He has the old-school thumper mentality and is a reliable tackler. More explosive than agile, his instincts and football IQ help his pursuit to the football.
Overall, he is a solid player in many facets of the game. The combine testing will be huge for Wilson. If he can show some above-average athleticism at his size, he could shoot up draft boards. At this point, he is one of my favorite mid-round players.