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April 16, 2019
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The Detroit Lions have lost three straight games and it does not look like it will get any easier from here. This week Miles Killebrew Jersey , the Carolina Panthers visit Ford Field for a Week 11 matchup. The Panthers have won three of the last four and at 6-3, they are firmly in the playoff race. Carolina has primarily been carried by its stars this season. 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton is having another MVP level season with nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns on the year. “He’s a dangerous guy,” said Lions safety Glover Quin Wednesday, “He can throw it, he can run it鈥?you have to defend him every play.”The 10-year veteran has seen his fair share of extraordinary talents over his decade long career, but there are not many players like Newton out there. “There’s no quarterback that’s that big and can run like that,” Quin said, “[Newton] would probably be the only guy.”Newton measures in at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. He has the size of a tight end but the speed and footwork of a running back. The quarterback has over 4,600 rushing yards and 58 touchdowns in his eight-year career. Those numbers are unprecedented for someone listed at quarterback and his arm is not anything to overlook either. “To have that combination of size and speed and ability, he’s a rare guy.” Quin added.Newton is not the only star that Quin and the Lions defense will have to worry about Sunday. Running back Christian McCaffrey has really found his footing in his second NFL season. The Stanford product has already eclipsed his rookie year rushing yard and touchdown totals in only nine games in 2018. He is an incredible receiver, as well. His 54 receptions lead the team, and the running back has earned himself a reputation for embarrassing opposing linebackers with great route running and ability after the catch. “He’s gonna challenge us in every way,” Quin said of McCaffery, “He’s just one of those guys who’s a very dangerous weapon.”The combination of Newton and McCaffery give the Panthers the third best rushing offense in the NFL by DVOA. “They work really well together… those guys are definitely making the offense go,” said Quin.While the Panthers are a team rolling into what looks like another playoff appearance, Detroit is a team trying to keep its head above water. None of the last three Lions losses have been remotely competitive. Their defense has made crucial mistakes that have resulted in huge plays that put the team in a hole. The offense has struggled, as well, and have not looked capable of making up any sort of deficit the defense puts them in. The team has lost every game since trading for defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. While the addition of Harrison was great for the defensive front, it also exposed many weaknesses that were hiding in the teams secondary. “Secondary wise, you can’t give up big plays, you can’t miss tackles,” Quin said of his unit’s recent struggles. “When you do that on the back end, it turns into points.”Quin has personally been having the worst season of his storied career. He seems to have lost a step and is no longer the center fielder in coverage that opposing teams are scared to test. Quin has clearly lost a bit of speed over the years and is visibly slower then he has been in the past.The safety’s struggles are just one part of a team wide slump everyone seems to be in. All-pro corner Darius Slay is having a down year after an incredible 2017 campaign. Quarterback Matthew Stafford may be having his worst season since he became the full-time starter in 2011. All around the roster, players are having out-of-character poor seasons and the team is struggling as a result. “We just have to play better offensively, defensively and special teams and we just haven’t done it,” Quin said of the teams recent woes. “We gotta find a way to regroup and get it done.”While from the outside things look gloomy in Detroit, there is still some hope in the Lions locker room. “Things can change,” Quin told reporters.If the Lions plan on making another run at the playoffs this year, then they must change and they have to change this week with the Panthers coming to town.2019 NFL Draft Watch: Week 2 EDGE Maxx Crosby (Eastern Michigan) 6-foot-5, 247 pounds | JuniorThe Eagles face off against Purdue at 12 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. If you’re able to watch or have a chance to watch any EMU games this year, I highly recommend giving Crosby a look. With 11 sacks (a single-season record for EMU) and 16.5 tackles for a loss, Crosby dominated the stat sheet during his sophomore year. He is very active with his hands off the edge and uses his length to disrupt and control the point of attack. Although he can be a bit reckless at times, Crosby often makes up for his deficiencies with his athleticism and high-effort plays. His burst off the snap is fairly decent, and he is a great mover in space for his size. Crosby was absent during EMU’s opener against Monmouth last week after being suspended by the team, but should make his first appearance of the year on Saturday.LB Joe Bachie (Michigan State) 6-foot-2 Nick Bellore Jersey , 238 pounds | JuniorObviously, as a State fan, I am a big Joe Bachie fan, but I believe he’s going to be a much better college player than he will be a pro. That’s not to say that he can’t have a successful NFL career, but I don’t think he has the athleticism to excel in a passing league, where his ceiling may be a bit low.Still, Bachie is arguably the best in the country at stopping the run and absolutely dominated in that area of his game last year. He has become the leader of the Spartans’ defense and has helped revitalize the tough, hard-nosed mentality that they once had under Dantonio.Bachie had a huge game in MSU’s close win over Utah State, including a game-sealing interception to close out a win.I would also include Brian Lewerke, MSU’s quarterback on this list, since the Lions could really use some young (and talented) blood behind Stafford, but I have already seen a few (namely The Draft Network) rank Lewerke as their No. 1 QB in the class, and it’s very unlikely that the Lions will select a QB as early as Lewerke could hear his name called.If you’re on the east coast, then you might have trouble staying up to watch the entirety of MSU’s night game against Arizona State. It kicks at 10:45 p.m. ET on ESPN, and will likely end close to 2 a.m.LB T.J. Edwards (Wisconsin) 6-foot-1, 242 pounds | SeniorSince we’re on the topic of linebackers, Edwards is another name to watch and has made a name for himself over the past couple years as one of the best cover linebackers in the country. Edwards hauled in an impressive four interceptions last year with six passes deflected, to boot. He may be a bit undersized and might not test extremely well in pure speed, but his instincts and the angles he takes are enough to make up for at least some of his lack of speed, as he is often there to make a play on the ball.I like Edwards as a WILL in a 4-3 or a 3-4 ILB, but he has the flexibility to move around if need be.If you have the Big Ten Network, you’ll likely get this game or Eastern Michigan depending on your area (noon kickoff).LB Joe Giles-Harris (Duke) 6-foot-2, 240 pounds | RS JuniorI think you get the theme. The Lions are going to need to go heavy on the defensive side of the ball at some point, whether it’s free agency, the draft or both. This may be the year to add a bunch of pieces to the front-seven because it looks there are going to be a lot of very good prospects to choose from.Giles-Harris is a much better athlete than the previous two linebackers in this piece and doesn’t have to worry about running off to the sidelines on third down. He excels in the passing game, showing the ability to get from sideline-to-sideline in an instant and has proven that he can drop back in both zone- and man-coverage.There are very few concerns I have with Giles-Harris when watching his tape, but you don’t really see his name mentioned with other top linebackers in this upcoming class. If he has another dominant year and tests well (which he should), I expect to see his name rise up near the top of the list and I think he could be a perfect fit for Patricia’s Year 2 defense.This game will be featured on ESPNU at noon and will give us a nice look at Giles-Harris on one side and Paddy Fisher (who we focused on a little last week) on the other at linebacker.CB Alijah Holder (Stanford) 6-foot-1, 191 pounds | RS SeniorA game to watch out for is No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.Holder has had to overcome injuries which held him to only 12 appearances in 2016 and 2017 combined. He also looks pretty thin for his size and will need to bulk up eventually when preparing for the NFL, but he’s definitely not lacking in ability.His most notable play was a pick-six on Freshman at the time, Josh Rosen, where he exhibits his ball skills and some ability to run after the catch, as well.Holder is at his best when using his size to his advantage in press coverage and has a great understanding of how to use his hands to disrupt routes and win early at the line of scrimmage. This should be a great test for Holder, as he’ll be lining up against some talented Trojan receivers, like Amon-Ra St. Brown (brother of Equinameous) and redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns.
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