CFB 24/7  

 

Lions among seven teams to meet with Marqise Lee

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee has visited with seven teams, with all but one of them picking between 17th and 29th in the first round. That's the general area where Lee is expected to go in the draft.

But the one outlier is interesting: It's the Detroit Lions, who pick 10th. Would the Lions grab Lee with the 10th pick? That seems extremely unlikely.

Lee also has visited with the Baltimore Ravens (17th pick), New York Jets (18th pick), Miami Dolphins (19th pick), New Orleans Saints (27th pick), Carolina Panthers (28th pick) and New England Patriots (29th pick).

Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans are the consensus top two wide receivers in the draft, and both are expected to go in the top 10. Lee is among the second-tier receivers, along with LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks, and the order after the top two receivers is a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" thing.

Detroit seems intrigued by the idea of taking a big-time receiver and pairing him with Calvin Johnson. The receiver the Lions most closely have been aligned with is Watkins, and that would mean the Lions would have to trade up. Taking Lee at No. 10 doesn't make sense, and if the Lions truly covet him, they could move down -- maybe as many as 10 spots -- and still grab him.

Among the teams Lee has visited, the Jets and Panthers would seem to be the most interested in adding a first-round receiver; indeed, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Panthers take at least two and maybe even three receivers in this draft. The Ravens, Dolphins, Saints and Patriots would seem to have bigger position issues, though those teams adding a top-flight rookie to what they already have at receiver does make some sense -- especially since Lee has the potential to develop into a No. 1 NFL receiver.

Lee (6-foot, 192 pounds) had a great sophomore season in 2012 but slumped a bit in 2013 before turning pro a year early. USC's quarterback situation was an issue in 2013, when Lee saw his catch total drop from 118 (for 1,712 yards and 14 TDs) in 2012 to 57 (for 791 yards and four TDs). Lee also played through injuries in 2013.

While he is not a burner (he ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds at the combine), Lee is athletic (38-inch vertical jump, a broad jump of 10 feet, 7 inches) and fluid. His hands were an issue in 2013, when he dropped passes he had caught the season before. And while he lacks elite speed, Lee is elusive and did an excellent job as the Trojans' main kick returner in 2012.

Lee is tied for fifth at wide receiver on NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock's updated list of the best players at each position. Lee is the No. 5 wide receiver and the No. 23 player overall on fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top-50 list, and is the No. 5 receiver and No. 20 overall player on senior analyst Gil Brandt's "Hot 100" list.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15