Lions address three big needs with first three picks

Posted Apr 26, 2013

Whether Ziggy Ansah, Darius Slay and Larry Warford end up being starters in September remains to be seen, but it certainly looks at this point that all three will be in the mix

Darius SlayGCB Darius Slay (Photo: AP Images)
The first three rounds of the NFL draft are in the books. The Lions are hopeful they’ve added three new starters to their roster in defensive end Ziggy Ansah, cornerback Darius Slay and guard Larry Warford.

Whether those players end up being starters in September is a long ways off, but it certainly looks at this point like all three will be in the mix.

The Lions’ mantra since general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz took over in 2009 has been best player available when it comes to the draft. It’s been no different this year, but the draft has worked out in such a way that all three picks for the Lions have been at positions of need.

“Yeah, I mean, we certainly have been fortunate that way,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. “You know, we obviously had a big hole at defensive end and we had the opportunity to draft a really good player there.

“One of the positions we had an area of need was corner and we were able to get a guy that we felt very strong at there.

"We drafted a couple tackles to develop… but the one thing that we haven’t really had the opportunity over the last three or four years to do is draft an interior offensive lineman and develop that. So, this gave us an opportunity to do that also.”

Defensive end, right guard, cornerback and receiver were probably the biggest areas of need for the Lions before the draft. They are 3-for-4 in addressing those needs and still have five picks remaining Saturday in rounds 4-7.

“I know the first two picks (Ansah and Slay) the grade really hit an area that we strongly wanted to address, you know?” Mayhew said. “This pick (Warford), a great hit, we like the guy, but I think the first two were definitely times when the grade matched up perfectly with that need. We’ll see how it all turns out.”

The Lions are still looking for a receiver and could also use a tight end, a return specialist, an outside linebacker, a running back with speed and possibly a punter.

But so far so good for the Lions in tailoring best player available with need through the first three rounds.