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Lions' draft picks fill needs in Teryl Austin's defense

Teryl Austin was clear about what he viewed as needs for his defense heading into the draft.

"I think that when you look at our roster right now, I think we probably have a need at defensive end," he told WJR at the Lions' draft party before the first round began. "Just because we have Ziggy (Ansah) and then Devin (Taylor) under contract, we just signed Wallace (Gilberry). But, we only have three guys there."

"I would think at safety there would be a need and probably at defensive tackle. You still want to have a defensive tackle because we have some guys under one-year deals."

Ask and you shall receive.

It just so happens the Lions drafted defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson in the second round, safety Miles Killebrew in the fourth round and defensive end Anthony Zettel in the sixth round.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said before the draft that his philosophy is a mesh of best player available and need. Drafting all three positions of need Austin pointed out, and adding depth at linebacker with fifth-round pick Antwione Williams, is a perfect example of how that philosophy played out on Detroit's board all draft weekend.

The Lions were a bit surprised Robinson, a first-round talent, was still on the board for them at pick No. 46. A two-year starter at Alabama, he seems to fit into Austin's attacking scheme, and could be a long-term solution at the position.

Killebrew is an in-the-box safety. He's expected to compete right away with veteran free-agent acquisitions Rafael Bush and Tavon Wilson, for the starting spot opposite Pro Bowl free safety Glover Quin. At the very least, Killebrew improves the depth at the position and can be a sub-package/special teams player right away.

Zettel, who recorded eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss his junior year at Penn State playing exclusively at defensive end, will get an opportunity to play early on with the lack of numbers at the position.

Right now the Lions have Ansah and Taylor penciled in as starters. This will be the first opportunity for Taylor to be a starter heading into his fourth season.

"I know we challenged him and Kris (Kocurek) really challenges him on, is to really show up and be consistent like that every week because he is a very talented individual," Austin said of Taylor.

"He plays hard, but he has to get some consistency in his game and he really brought that, I thought the last six weeks of the season. He played really lights-out and we're looking forward to him taking that next step and being able to line up and start this year and play that same way through 16 games."

Austin got what he was looking for in terms of positions of need from the draft. He'll now integrate those young pieces into his defense and see if they can be early contributors for him.

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