This has to worry Matthew Stafford especially as a franchise quarterback with a history of getting sidelined by hits from defensive lineman. After Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus left in free agency, who will keep away the Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers of the world?
General manager Martin Mayhew did not answer that question in this years’ draft, ostensibly hoping that 2012 top pick Riley Reiff can move to left tackle while the right tackle spot gets patched somehow. It will be interesting to see.
After losing a boatload of edge rushers in free agency as well, the Lions did however address defensive end in a big way in taking Ziggy Ansah out of BYU. Whether Ansah hits his upside could decide whether history shines on this draft haul.
“He never came to football until 2010 as a walk-on,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said after the Ansah pick. “He was not even on NFL teams’ radars. He wasn’t even on their scouting lists. He’s a boom-or-bust candidate. I love the kid. Three years from now, he’s an All-Pro or he’s on the streets, and I don’t mean that negatively.”
If cornerback Darius Slay‘s knees can stay healthy, Round 2 provides a great need-value combo as well in filling the corner spot opposite Chris Houston. Devin Taylor at pick No. 35 gives defensive-minded Jim Schwartz another edge lineman to replenish the reservoir. Corey Fuller adds depth to a receiver position that could use it, while Theo Riddick adds depth to a running back position that already has plenty of it.
Picks: Ansah (1-5), Slay (2-4), Larry Warford (3-3), Taylor (4-35), Sam Martin (5-32), Fuller (6-3), Riddick (6-31), Michael Williams (7-5), Brandon Hepburn (7-39)