LIONS INSIDER

Could the Detroit Lions take a guard at No. 5?

Posted Feb 22, 2013

A guard hasn't been selected in the top five of the NFL Draft in more than 20 years. Could this be the year that streak comes to an end?

Chance WarmackAn interior offensive lineman hasn't been selected in the first five picks of the NFL Draft since 1985, when the Philadelphia Eagles selected Bill Fralic second overall.

Before that, it was 1975, when the Baltimore Colts took North Carolina guard Ken Huff with the third pick.

Teams selecting that high in the draft typically want an impact player. Guards, however right or wrong, aren't considered to have as much impact on the game as, say, an edge rusher or a left tackle.

But could this be the year a guard sneaks back in to the top five?

Alabama guard Chance Warmack is as good a guard prospect as the NFL Draft has seen in some time.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said in a national conference call before the Combine that Warmack was the best player available in April.

"Chance Warmack is the best player I saw on tape this year," Mayock said. "He's a top-10 pick for me."

Mayock said the Kansas City Chiefs should have no reservations taking Warmack No. 1 overall.

That might be pushing it a little with some of the elite offensive tackles and defensive ends among the top players available, but Mayock's point is well taken, and the top five is certainly in the mix depending on how he performs in the evaluation process over the next month.

It just so happens the Lions have the No. 5 pick. Could Warmack be in the cards for them?

The Lions released right guard Stephen Peterman following the season and there are more question marks than answers for the candidates currently on the roster who could fill that spot.

Under the old rookie wage scale, it wasn't cost effective to take a guard high in the draft. Under the new system, though, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said it's more likely we could see a guard taken amongst the top players this year.

"The perspective on that may have changed over the last few years with the new CBA, where those numbers aren't as big as they were before," Mayhew said. "But you always look at the impact positions that are impacting the game and typically guards aren't really viewed in that way.

"But I think that's a lot more likely in this day and age than it was five or six years ago."

Warmack was a unanimous All-American in 2012. He led Alabama with 39 pancake blocks, committed just two penalties and was named team captain.

"I consider myself really explosive, a tough player and a very physical player," Warmack told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

As for bucking the trend and being the first guard taken in the top 5 in almost 20 years, Warmack said he doesn't care about all that.

"It's widely known that guards aren't drafted that high," he said. "If that did happen I'd be honored as a player who plays guard, but I'm not thinking about that right now.

"My mentality right now is not even thinking about the draft. I'm just trying to perform well for that pro day and stay in shape. That's what I'm focused on."