Detroit Lions: Predicting how each rookie will fit in this upcoming season

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions, Ifeatu Melifonwu
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

3rd Round: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse

In the 3rd round, the Detroit Lions took another high upside, tremendous athlete in Ifeatu Melifonwu. Melifonwu is a prototypical outside corner with great size (6’2), speed, and quickness. At Syracuse, he played in various coverages, including press, off coverage, and a variety of zones.

This is valuable to the Lions as they will run various coverages instead of constantly playing man-coverage like the previous regime. Melifonwu still is raw and still developing the nuances of the corner position.

That, combined with the steep learning curve from corners entering the league, might take a couple of years before Melifonwu is ready, but who knows, he could be ready sooner than anyone expects.

As a rookie, Melifonwu should compete with Amani Oruwariye and Quinton Dunbar to start at outside corner across from Jeff Okudah. It will be interesting to see how the young trio of Melifonwu, Okudah, and Oruwariye develop together.

In a perfect world, Oruwariye and Melifornwu could lock down the outside while allowing Okudah could slide inside and outside depending on the matchup. For now, the Lions got another player with all the traits to be a good starting corner for a long time.

4th Round: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

The Lions finally addressed their need at receiver with Amon-Ra St. Brown out of USC. St. Brown played in the slot and outside, but his best fit in the NFL will be out of the slot. St. Brown is a good route runner with great hands and the innate ability to find holes in the zone.

What probably sold the Lions front office on St. Brown is his toughness. St. Brown is not afraid to go over the middle and is great on contested catches; plus, he has no issues blocking in the run game. St. Brown’s lack of top-tier speed and athletic traits is why he was available in the fourth round and limit him to the slot, but those should not prevent him from becoming a high-end slot receiver.

St. Brown will enter training camp as the leader for the starting slot receiver. His skill set makes him an ideal possession receiver in between Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. Jared Goff can rely on him in the intermediate passing game to move the sticks, and once the ball is in his hands, he can make people miss and create extra yards. Amon-Ra St. Brown should become a safety valve for Jared Goff, who can be counted on to get open and make tough catches.