2015 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions Should Select Eric Rowe In First Round


With the 2015 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, Detroit Lions fans are all likely ready to see how this years draft selections will shake out.

We’ve all seen, read, or even wrote our fair share of draft analysis, player breakdowns and mock drafts over the past few weeks. Despite the frequency of these reports popping up however, it’s quite often that none were one in the same this year.

If you’ve been keeping tabs, you’ve seen everything from reports that Detroit will target a defensive tackle in round one to help dissipate the void left by Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, to reports that an offensive tackle will be priority No. 1. Recently speculation has even ramped up about the possibility of Todd Gurley donning the Honolulu blue and silver in 2015.

While any of those picks are a distinct possibility, (some less likely than others) it is my belief that the Lions will go a bit of a different route come April 30.

Best Player Available?

When the Detroit Lions went on the clock in the 2014 NFL Draft, I’d say that it’s very safe to assume no one thought Eric Ebron would be the name announced at the podium. Draft pundits and fans alike were sold on the idea that Detroit had to go cornerback in round one, and Justin Gilbert was the hot name headed into the big day.

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When Ebron was the pick, the Motor City as a whole was shell-shocked.

Martin Mayhew and company seemingly decided on the best player available, despite the Lions already having two formidable tight ends on the roster. Everyone would eventually settle down (at least until this off season) once Ebron’s versatility and skill sets were brought to the fore front, but at the time many called it a foolish pick.

In 2015, could the “best player available” strategy come into play once again?

It’s possible, but you might like this one.

In 2015, the best player available when Detroit hits the clock at pick No. 23 may be Eric Rowe.

The name Eric Rowe has been steady climbing NFL Mock Drafts everywhere since his sensational performance at the NFL Combine. It was there that the 6-foot-1, 205 pound defensive back ended up being the top performer in nearly every category.

  • 40-yard dash:  4.45 sec.
  • Bench Press:  19 reps
  • Vertical Jump:  39 inches
  • Broad Jump 125 inches
  • 3 Cone drill:  6.7 seconds
  • 20-yard Shuttle:  3.97 seconds
  • 60-yard Shuttle:  11.48 seconds

Despite the incredible numbers posted above, some still have Rowe dropping to day two of the NFL Draft. For myself, I think he’ll go near the end of round one.

That’s why Detroit should pull the trigger at No. 23.

Now, I know that many will be quick to shout, “We need an offensive lineman!” — and I agree. There is however talent to be had beyond round one. Guys like Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi could very easily be around when the Lions go back on the clock for pick No. 54 overall, and both would be a great addition to next years squad.

To add a guy like Rowe would be huge. He’s a dual threat player in the sense that he can play both safety and corner back formidably.

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Shut down corners are hard to come by this day in age, but Eric Rowe has the potential to be one. With his straight line speed, long arms, and above average height for his position, his expectation would likely be to take over the starting spot currently possessed by soon to be 35-year-old, Rashean Mathis.

With Mathis recently re-signed to a new two-year deal, this would give Rowe ample time to learn defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s complex system, work on his recovery speed, and continue to develop his coverage techniques.

Detroit’s interest in Rowe is no secret. The organization brought former Utah Ute in for a pre-draft visit earlier this month, and has since had they’re name liked to the highly touted corner.

If the decision was mine to make, I don’t wait to see if he falls to me in round two — because he wont be there. In fact, if Detroit passes at 23, don’t be surprised if he winds up across lake Michigan in a Green Bay Packers uniform in 2015.

For continued Detroit Lions news, rumors and analysis, follow Detroit Jock City and writer Nate Williams on twitter at @DetroitJockCity and @Shoot_The_Gap.

Next: 2015 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions Top 5 Offensive Line Prospects