Defense could be supplemented (UPDATED)
The biggest criticism of the Lions' draft haul in April was the lack of immediate impact defensive players, primarily in the front seven.
The Lions could add another prospect to the front lines as early as 1 p.m. Thursday, when the NFL holds its annual Supplemental Draft, the addendum to the April selection process where latecomers get a chance to be selected by an NFL team.
Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon — who ranks third on the Wildcats' career sacks list (17.5) — was declared ineligible for his senior season by the NCAA after testing positive in February for a banned substance in a dietary supplement. The suspension came too late for Jarmon — who considered coming out, anyway — to make it into April's draft, forcing him into today's pool of eligible draftees, where he could be added to the defensive line rotation for as little as a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
Jarmon is one of eight players who submitted paperwork for the NFL's late-summer catch-up draft, but has drawn the most interest, including — as ESPN reported Wednesday — from the Lions. Eighteen teams showed up for his July 10 workout, where the graduate student — who has already completed his bachelor's degree in political science and was studying abroad while working on a second major — measured in at 6-foot-3 and 278 pounds and ran a 40-yard dashes anywhere between 4.79 and 4.83 seconds. The three-year starter earned all-SEC honors as a sophomore, and second-team distinction in his junior season.
Drafting Jarmon would give the Lions a young pass rusher to play behind the likely starter at left end, Jared DeVries, one with the size that new coach Jim Schwartz prefers in his ends. Veteran Dewayne White and second-year speed rusher Cliff Avril — both of the smaller build preferred by the previous coaching staff — will likely share time at right end.
Unlike April's draft, teams do not have to use selections in the Supplemental Draft. Any team interested in any eligible player e-mails their interest to the league office, along with the round in which they'd select the player. The team with the highest-round bid gets the player, and forfeits the corresponding pick in the next spring's draft. Last spring's draft order (where the Lions were first overall) is the deciding factor in the case of multiple teams entering the same bid.
Also eligible for today's draft are:
- Blake Boyd, LB, Western Kentucky
- Torris Magee, WR, Southern Mississippi
- Dixon McKinner, DE, Texas Tech
- Joe McMahon, OL, Central Michigan
- Demetrice Morley, S, Tennessee
- Deon Murphy, WR, Kansas State
- Corey Surrency, WR, Florida State
UPDATE: The Redskins snatched Jarmon with a third-round pick, the only selection made in Thursday's Supplemental Draft. For a team that has an immediate window of opportunity, like the Redskins, that makes sense. For a rebuilding team like the Lions, third round is a bit high.
Put it this way: In last year's draft (which was nearly unanimously classified as one of the weakest in recent memory), a third-round pick for Jarmon would have put him ahead of Georgia Tech's Michael Johnson (3rd), Wisconsin's Matt Shaughnessy (3rd), Texas' Henry Melton (4th), USC's Kyle Moore (4th), Texas Tech's Brandon Williams (4th) and Richmond's Lawrence Sidbury (4th). Jarmon would have ranked below all of those players.
UPDATE II: NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported that the Redskins picked Jarmon in the third because the Lions were set to take him at the top of the fourth round.