Isaac Nauta Jersey

The Detroit Lions made more headlines with a tight end they selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but perhaps they should be making just as many for the one they selected in round seven. Isaac Nauta doesn’t get a ton of love in draft publications, but recently, handed out some major love to him. He was identified as one of the favorite picks of Lance Zierlein.

Here’s a look at what Zierlein wrote about the selection:

“Nauta the football player and Nauta the workout guy were two totally different prospects, from my perspective, but the poor testing stuck, which is why he tumbled. His testing numbers suggest he won’t be an NFL player, but I love this pick in Round 7 because he plays faster than he tested, he has great hands and I can see him competing for a role as a move tight end or H-back when Detroit looks to create matchup problems out of two-tight-end sets.”

Nauta made it to round seven which was interesting to note, but the reason could have been as much about testing as anything else. It’s possible that he didn’t test well at the NFL Combine leading to poor numbers. It’s happened before so it will be interesting to see what type of player Nauta is. The numbers paint the picture of a super productive, tough as nails SEC competitor. Truthfully, an NFL team can never have too many like that.

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It will be fun to see Matthew Stafford toss Nauta the ball a bit and get the Bulldog connection going up in Detroit. Safe to say that both Stafford, his wife Kelly, who is also a Georgia grad, and Nauta will all be fired up about this. It will be easy to see Stafford putting Nauta under his wing thanks to this important connection on the field involving a couple of shared colleges between two key offensive players on the Lions team.

Stafford went to Georgia and so did Nauta. So does the young dawg know the old dawg? Not exactly, but as they say in the movie Step Brothers, these two are likely about to become best friends. Will be fun to see the Georgia connection in Detroit. The last time Stafford had such a connection was with Kris Durham more than a handful of years back, another former Georgia pass catcher who scrapped and made the team.

Many analysts see Nauta having a long pro career and making an impact in the league. They have also called the pick a steal and predicted the team would be keeping Nauta when all was said and done. For sure, that would be a huge development for the Lions to get that play out of a player they nabbed in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.

While Nauta did not test well, he did a nice job to always be a top target with the Bulldogs and that is something which always catches Detroit’s eye. The team likes production, and there was nobody more productive arguably in his career in the SEC than Nauta. Combine numbers only mean so much, but Nauta’s production could earn him a big role with the Lions who are needy at tight end.

If it happens, Zierlein will not be surprised one bit.

Ty Johnson Jersey

The Detroit Lions selected Maryland running back Ty Johnson in the sixth round of the NFL draft with the 186th pick Saturday afternoon.

Johnson missed the last three games of his senior season with a calf injury, but he still finished the year as the team’s second-leading rusher with 506 yards. He had a standout season as a sophomore in 2016, rushing for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns and adding 206 receiving yards.

In four years at Maryland, Johnson rushed for more than 2,600 yards and 17 touchdowns. He added two receiving touchdowns and two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

During his college career, Johnson had three offensive coordinators, so he said he used that to help sell himself to NFL teams.

“I’m adaptable,” he said at Maryland’s pro day. “That’s what I tell them all the time — just because of so many coaches I’ve had. That’s something I’m more proud of than my speed and everything. . . . You put me in a new system, I’m going to learn it and I’m going to execute it.”

Johnson did not receive an invitation to the NFL scouting combine, but at Maryland’s pro day, he showed his speed with a 40-yard dash time that was unofficially under 4.4 seconds. No running backs at the combine ran faster than that.

Johnson is the third Terps player selected in this year’s draft, following safety Darnell Savage Jr., chosen 21st by the Green Bay Packers, and defensive lineman Byron Cowart, who was selected in the fifth round by the New England Patriots with the 159th pick.

Travis Fulgham Jersey

Virginia Tech  v Old Dominion

Travis Fulgham grew up a New England Patriots fan, in part because the only football he watched when he was young came when he was home visiting his dad in the winter and Patriots playoff games were on TV.

As the son of foreign diplomats, Fulgham, spent most of his youth living abroad in countries like Jordan, India, South Africa and Egypt.

He moved back to the United States permanently in the ninth grade, started playing football two years later, and on Saturday became a sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions.

“Playing in the NFL was always my dream as soon as I started playing,” Fulgham said in a conference call with Detroit reporters. “I (didn’t think it was really possible until) after this year, after having a pretty good senior season and getting invited to the Senior Bowl and the combine.”

Fulgham had no scholarship offers coming out of Broad Run High in Ashburn, Va., only a walk-on opportunity at Old Dominion.

He redshirted as a freshman, played sparingly the next year, earned a starting spot in 2016 and blossomed last fall.

A second-team All-Conference USA selection, Fulgham had 63 catches last season for a team-high 1,083 yards. He led Conference USA in yards per catch (17.2) and projects as a potential deep threat for a Lions offense that returns starters Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones and added backups Danny Amendola and Tommylee Lewis in free agency.

“I feel like I’m a receiver who can definitely make some big plays for the team,” Fulgham, said. “I’m definitely a polished route runner. I can run any route on the route tree. I feel like I can definitely (move the chains) for any football team.”

Fulgham, 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds, grew up playing soccer and basketball abroad, and when he took to football he said he tried to emulate big receivers like Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson.

Now, he’s playing for Johnson’s old team, and with Johnson’s old quarterback.

“I definitely know Matthew Stafford is definitely a great quarterback who can definitely put up some numbers and definitely a good young core of receivers down there in Detroit,” he said. “I’m excited to join them.”

Amani Oruwariye Jersey

Penn State defensive back Amani Oruwariye runs in a drilll at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye studied a number of NFL cornerbacks while in college in hopes of taking little bits of their game and applying them to his. One of those players he looked at was Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay.

“I watched (Slay) a good amount,” Oruwariye said Saturday after the Lions took him in the fifth round of the draft. “I just felt like Darius Slay played the deep ball really well. It’s just great technique.”

Oruwariye is now hoping to parlay that film study into a playing role alongside Slay in Detroit’s defense in 2019 and beyond.

“He’s somebody I’m going to really lean on and take advice from and try to groom my game after,” Oruwariye said of Slay.

The selection of the Penn State cornerback continues the Lions’ run on defensive players in the second and third days of the NFL Draft. Oruwariye is the fourth straight defensive player taken by Detroit after first-round pick tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Oruwariye has terrific length (6-2, 207) and speed (4.47). He intercepted four passes and broke up eight others as a reserve in 2017. He earned a starting role in 2018, earning a first-team all-conference nod and leading the Nittany Lions with 12 pass breakups and tying for the team lead with three interceptions.

His above-average size and strength could be a nice fit for a Lions’ defense that plays a lot of press-man on the outside. Oruwariye is physical at the line of scrimmage, and has the kind of physical traits teams like in a player drafted on Day 3.

“It just really allows me to match up with bigger receivers,” Oruwariye said of his size vs. other corners in this draft. “It allows me to use my body to my ability and really dominate at the line of scrimmage and go up with receivers and make plays on the ball. There are just a lot of strengths my size brings.”

Oruwariye will throw his hat into the mix of players competing for the open starting outside cornerback spot opposite Slay. The Lions signed Justin Coleman in free agency to man the slot. Oruwariye is likely to join Rashaan Melvin, Marcus Cooper, Teez Tabor and others in the competition for that outside role.

Austin Bryant Jersey

Clemson defensive end Austin Bryant was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 4th round with the 177th overall pick in the NFL draft.

Bryant is the 4th Clemson defensive lineman to be selected in the first 4 rounds of the NFL draft. Austin’s draft value may have dropped because he was unable to physically participate in the post season draft process while recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that he played through during the second half of Clemson’s 18/19 season.

Austin was a three year starter for Clemson. As a sophomore he was plagued by a foot injury that cost him the majority of of the season, starting the first 3 games of the year and then returning to limited action in the Tigers post season run to the National Championship. He recored 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks in limited playing time. Bryant came on as a junior, starting 14 games, recording 50 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and an interception. Bryant returned to the Tigers as a senior and put in another stellar season putting up 45 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks.

When healthy (and even when not as a senior), Bryant was a terror at his left end position. At 6’5, 260, he is a freaky athlete that Brent Venables liked to move around the field. You saw that against Virginia Tech in 2017 when he was tasked with blowing up wide receiver screen passes. You won’t find many defensive ends able to flank out to the perimeter and take away screen passes. For his effort, he was rewarded with an interception he managed to stab with one hand.