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Draft buzz: Lions 'love' Jonathan Cooper, Ziggy Ansah

Detroit Lions defensive line coach Jim Washburn might be banging the table for BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick, but he's going to have to win over the offensive-minded members of the team's war room.


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If one of the 2013 NFL Draft's top offensive tackles falls past the No. 4 spot, the debate will intensify. There could be a third option for the Lions, too.

Hours after reporting Wednesday that the Lions "love" Ansah, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport heard "how much" they also love North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper.

The Lions reportedly are salivating over Cooper's speed and athleticism, seeing him as an ideal escort for running back Reggie Bush on screens and other passes out of the backfield. Like a lot of teams, the Lions also are impressed by Cooper's ability to play center in a pinch.

NFL Network analyst Brian Billick called Cooper "as clean of a player as I've seen in this draft." NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah now expects Cooper to be drafted ahead of Alabama guard Chance Warmack.

If the Lions opt to go in another direction, Cooper unlikely is to slide more than two or three spots. The Arizona Cardinals reportedly are confident that either Cooper or Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson will fall to them at No. 7 overall. Rapoport predicts the Bills will select a guard at No. 8 if they are unable to trade down.

Other draft buzz:

»Although NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock pegs West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to the Cleveland Browns at No. 6 overall in his mock draft, colleague Solomon Wilcots reported on "Around The League Live" Thursday that the team "absolutely loved" Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel in his workout. Smith does sit atop the New York Jets' quarterback rankings, per the New York Daily News.

»Speaking of the Jets, the Daily News also reports the team likes Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, but not enough to pull the trigger at No. 13 overall.

»NFL Network's Charley Casserly suggested on Wednesday's "Path to the Draft" that the St. Louis Rams might be willing to trade up with the draft's best receiver as the target.

"It seems the Rams aren't content to sit there (at No. 16)," Casserly said. "People they've talked to in trades think the guy they want is Tavon Austin."

»NFL Network's Brian Baldinger reported on "Path to the Draft" that LSU pass rusher Barkevious Mingo has climbed the Philadelphia Eagles' draft board of late.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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