(Sports Network) -
1 (5) - Ezekiel Ansah, DE Brigham Young; 2 (36) - Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State; 3 (65) - Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky; 4 (132) - Devin Taylor, South Carolina; 5 (165) - Sam Martin, P, Appalachian State; 6 (171) - Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech; 6 (199) - Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame; 7 (211) - Michael Williams, TE, Alabama; 7 (245) - Brandon Hepburn, ILB, Florida A&M
Top Pick Analysis: Detroit general manger Martin Mayhew really would have liked one of big three left tackles with the fifth overall pick because veteran Jeff Backus called it quits after a solid 12-year career but once that option was closed off, getting a pass-rusher like Ansah made sense. Cliff Avril is now in Seattle and Kyle Vanden Bosch was let go, so Ansah, a Jason Pierre-Paul-like rangy, playmaker, will get every opportunity to make a splash from Day 1, although he is raw and may have to start out as a situational player. The Lions also got two possible starters on the second day in Slay and Warford. Detroit came into the draft with Chris Houston and Bill Bentley at cornerback so getting Slay, the fast-rising Mississippi State corner, was a logical move in the second round. Adding Warford, a 330-pound road-grader in the third round helps sure up the interior of the offensive line for Matthew Stafford.
Best Value Picks: Martin is a legitimate NFL punting prospect and will take over from veteran Nick Harris, who struggled through a tough 2012 season and won't be asked back. Meanwhile, in this era of specialization you can't help but be intrigued by a versatile player like Riddick, who started his career in South Bend at running back before moving to wide receiver when Brian Kelly needed him there only to return to the backfield as a senior. Riddick is a natural runner with solid situational receiving skills on the outside as well as in the slot and will be a tough matchup for any defense in today's NFL.
Questionable Calls: Taylor is another rangy, rusher, almost a poor man's Ansah and taking him in the fourth round instead of continuing to upgrade the offensive line was a mistake.
Summary: A solid if unspectacular haul by Mayhew but the glaring absence of a left tackle prospect, and the fact that Ansah and Slay may need a year or two before their potential is realized will take some of the bloom off the rose in the Motor City.
FINAL GRADE: B
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: Ohio C Skyler Allen; Western Michigan QB Alex Carder; East Carolina DT Michael Brooks; UCLA TE Joseph Fauria; Ball State OT Austin Holtz; Appalachian State RB Steven Miller; Albany LB Jon Morgan; Kentucky CB Martavius Neloms; Texas Tech OT LaAdrian Waddle; Central Michigan WR Cody Wilson