Lions hope they've found their right guard of the future in Larry Warford

Posted Apr 26, 2013

The Lions' offensive line needed to get bigger and stronger and Detroit addressed that need with the selection of Kentucky guard Larry Warford

Larry WarfordG Larry Warford (Photo: AP Images)
One of the biggest issues that plagued the Lions offense in 2012 was way too much interior pressure. General manager Martin Mayhew even brought it up when talking to reporters shortly after the season was over.

The Lions needed to get bigger and stronger inside on offense, and addressed that need with the selection of Kentucky guard Larry Warford in the third round, Friday.

Warford started 37-of-47 games at Kentucky, earning All-SEC accolades all four seasons. In three seasons starting at right guard, he led all SEC interior blockers with an 88.47 percent grade for blocking consistency. He registered 36 touchdown-resulting blocks and 125 knockdowns.

"He's a big man that can anchor and hold up inside in pass protection," Mayhew said. "You know, that was one of the really appealing things about him as a player."

Somewhere, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is smiling after hearing of Warford selection. Warford is a mammoth of a man inside (6-3, 333) and should immediately upgrade the Lions offensive line.

"I don't know if you can say ‘Larry' without saying ‘big' in front of it," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "He's probably been about five years old that he was never just Larry. He was Big Larry.

"He's a really thick, powerful guy. Good athlete for his size."

Like Ziggy Ansah, who the team took with their first pick Thursday night, the Lions coached Warford down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama shortly after the season.

"This is one time I think this year, specifically, the Senior Bowl really paid off for us," Mayhew said.

"You know, last draft we didn't draft any of those guys. I think last year at the Senior Bowl, it taught us guys that we didn't want to draft. This Senior Bowl taught us about guys we really like. So, it's been a good process."

With the selection of Warford, Schwartz said he felt comfortable slotting Riley Reiff into the left tackle spot at this point.

"You know, that's why we drafted him," Schwartz said. "Again, when (Jeff) Backus got hurt last year, that's why we played him there. You never say never. You never know who is going to become available, what's going to happen. But we drafted him as a left tackle. He's a little bit bigger this year than last.

"We thought he could play right tackle, we think he can play guard. You know, Riley, if you gave him time, could probably play center too."

The Lions will settle for left tackle now that they think they have their starting right guard.