Lions take OT Cherilus in first round

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions, looking to upgrade their offensive line and better protect quarterback Jon Kitna, selected Boston College tackle Gosder Cherilus in the first round of the draft on Saturday.

The 6-foot-6, 319-pound Cherilus is the first offensive lineman Detroit has taken with its opening pick since 2001, when it selected Michigan's Jeff Backus. The Lions lost starting guard/tackle Damien Woody to the New York Jets in free agency and surrendered 54 sacks during last year's 7-9 season.

The Lions took Cherilus with the No. 17 overall pick.

Detroit originally held the No. 15 pick, but traded with Kansas City and dropped down two spots. In exchange, the teams swapped third-round picks with the Lions getting the No. 66 overall pick and the Chiefs going to No. 76. Detroit also got a fifth-round pick from Kansas City.

Cherilus, a native of Haiti, started 37 consecutive games at right tackle before switching to the challenging left tackle position as a senior.

He is considered to have limited change-of-direction agility, but overall has a solid reputation as strong run-blocker.

Scouts say he is a tireless worker who could join the long line of productive Boston College offensive linemen who have played in the NFL.

Detroit also needs help at linebacker, running back and defensive end. The Lions' other first-day pick was the 14th pick of the second round (No. 45 overall).

They filled some voids in free agency, adding players on defense who played for coach Rod Marinelli when he was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant. They acquired defensive tackle Chuck Darby and defensive backs Brian Kelly, Dwight Smith and Kalvin Pearson.

Pearson, a safety, was arrested Saturday in Florida on domestic violence charges.

He was charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman and domestic battery by strangulation, both felonies, according to an arrest report from the Hillsborough County sheriff's office.

He also was charged with obstructing or opposing an officer without force, a misdemeanor, and was being held without bail in a Tampa jail.

It was not immediately known if Pearson had an attorney.

"We are aware of the situation with Kalvin Pearson, and we are gathering information," the Lions said in a statement. "We will have no further comment today."

Pearson, who is in his fourth NFL season, led the Buccaneers in special teams tackles in 2007, with 21, and appeared in all 16 games in 2007.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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