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2013 Draft Fallout: Detroit Lions

The 2013 NFL Draft transformed 32 NFL rosters. Around The League will examine the aftershocks in our Draft Fallout series. Next up: The Detroit Lions

The Big Question: Will the Lions offensive line be able to keep Matthew Stafford upright?

With the top three tackles off the board by the time the Lions picked at No. 5, Martin Mayhew decided not to reach for a lineman. Instead he will count on 2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff to replace the sturdy, if unspectacular, Jeff Backus who is protecting Matthew Stafford's blind side. Early reports indicated the Lions would have had Reiff play right tackle or even moved him to guard if they could have gotten their hands on a top-flight left tackle in the draft.

The Lions took Larry Warford, a big, bruising guard, in the third round to replace Stephen Peterman who they cut early in the offseason.

Questions remain at right tackle. Detroit kicked the tires on Winston Justice last week, a sign they aren't sold on allowing backups Jason Fox and Corey Hillard compete for the spot.

The Lions are counting on Reiff to make a seamless transition to left tackle, a rookie at guard and a question mark at right tackle. It could all go sideways for Detroit, which would kill any chance of Stafford having enough time to find Calvin Johnson in triple coverage.

Three Takeaways

  1. His boom-or-bust potential could make or break Martin Mayhew's future, however for Ziggy Ansah there was no better place to land. In the Wide 9, the raw rookie will only be asked to go full-bore from the edge and force the quarterback up in the pocket. Last season, Kyle Vanden Bosch was consistently a step and a half slow off the edge. Speed won't be a problem for Ansah. By season's end he'll be wreaking havoc in the opponents' backfield.
  1. If it weren't for a knee injury Darius Slay probably would have been a first-round pick. Mayhew has had terrible luck with his second-round picks, but Slay's unique combination of speed (fastest DB at the combine) and size (6-foot) will make him the Lions' best cornerback by the 2014 season.
  1. The Lions haven't drafted a productive late-round receiver since 1975. That could change with sixth-round pick Corey Fuller. With Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles both coming off season-ending injuries there is zero depth behind Megatron -- no other receiver on the current Lions' roster caught more than eight passes for Detroit last season. Fuller, a former track star, can use his speed to exploit corners in single-coverage as a rookie.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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