Lions add depth on 'D' with every pick on 3rd day
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)
The Detroit Lions insist they didn't plan on adding defensive depth with every pick on the final day of the NFL draft.
It just worked out that way.
''Pretty much, yeah,'' Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said.
The Lions started off Saturday by taking Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis, who can play defensive end or outside linebacker, in the fourth round. They drafted Temple outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead and Albion cornerback Chris Greenwood in the fifth.
''We feel good about all those guys helping us on defense and special teams,'' general manager Martin Mayhew said.
Later, Detroit drafted New Mexico State cornerback Jonte Green in the sixth round.
''I run a 4.3 40,'' Green said. ''I say that's my strength.''
Detroit's weakness is at cornerback, the only position it doesn't have a starter returning from its first 10-win team since 1995.
''Yeah, I'm aware of that,'' said Green, who is from St Petersburg, Fla.
The Lions closed the draft by taking Oklahoma outside linebacker Travis Lewis, the first player in school history to at least share the team lead in tackles four years in a row. Lackluster results at the NFL combine, though, led to him being available when the Lions drafted him 223rd overall.
''I'm going to prove them right and a lot of teams wrong,'' said Lewis, who is from San Antonio.
The Lions had chances to move back and up during the first two days of the draft, but stuck with their slots to select Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff in the first round, Oklahoma wide receiver Ryan Broyles in the second and Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Dwight ''Bill'' Bentley in the third.
On the third and final day of the draft, Detroit was on the move. The team slid back in the fourth round and moved up twice to make their fifth-round picks.
''It's all about opportunity and the players on the board,'' Schwartz said.
Detroit selected Lewis 125th overall with a pick acquired by trading the No. 117 pick to San Francisco for the 49ers' fourth-round pick and their sixth-round selection, 196th overall.
The 6-foot-1, 253-pound Lewis started nine games last season as a defensive end and played in 10 for the Sooners, making 13 tackles for losses, including 5.5 sacks. The native of Dewar, Okla., skipped his senior season.
Lewis missed some games because of a sprained ligament in his left knee last season and wasn't academically eligible to play in Oklahoma's bowl game. Schwartz said Lewis acknowledged he's not a good student, but the team isn't worried about that because there isn't an Academic All-NFC North team.
''We don't have any classes here,'' Schwartz said.
The Lions moved up to get Whitehead early in the fifth round with the 138th pick overall. They traded a fourth-round pick next year to Minnesota to acquire the pick. Whitehead had 59 tackles, including five sacks, last season at Temple. The 6-1, 233-pound linebacker is from Jersey City, N.J.
''It's a little bit of a projecting, making him an off-the-ball linebacker,'' Schwartz said.
Whitehead, though, knows his best chance at earning a roster spot will be on special teams.
Likewise, Greenwood will have to play special teams to make a team that is coming off its first playoff appearance since the 1999 season.
Greenwood, who is from Detroit, is the first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association player selected in the NFL draft since 1967, when New Orleans selected Albion linebacker Barry Siler in the eighth round.
The three Division III players taken in the NFL draft between 2008-2011 - Pierre Garcon, Andy Studebaker and Cecil Shorts - are all in the league.
Detroit really wanted to draft Greenwood 148th overall, sending its 158th pick later in the round and a seventh-round selection to Oakland to take him. He was the MIAA's defensive MVP and led Albion to a conference title last season.
The Lions say they were impressed with Greenwood's physical skills during a private workout and when he was at the University of Michigan pro day. Greenwood said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and has a 43-inch vertical leap, leading to him visiting eight other NFL teams.
''His measurables are off the charts,'' Mayhew said.
Greenwood attended Northwood and Eastern Michigan before going to Albion, a school 85 miles west of Detroit, and won't be surprised if he is making a living back in the Motor City with the Lions.
''If I work hard and do what I can do, I'll have a shot,'' he said.
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