Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Detroit Lions a good fit for Lance Moore

Lance Moore talks to media following Wednesday's OTAs.
Lance Moore brings new meaning to the words “good fit.”

The veteran wide receiver who was signed by the Detroit Lions a few weeks ago, knows the Lions offense better than many of the Lions.


Remember the Lions’ offense is based on the New Orleans Saints’ offense and that’s where Moore spent the bulk of his time in the NFL.

“This is the offense I had the most success in in my career. I played in this offense for eight years, Joe Lombardi was there six or seven years when I was there,’’ Moore said after OTAs on Wednesday. “The familiarly not just with what we’re running but being able to act as another coach out there, a coach in the receiver room. I think there’s a lot of things I can do to help this team.’’

He’s coming out of a situation with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 that seemed the opposite of a good fit.

The 31-year-old Moore was hurt early in the season, missed two games but could never work his way back into a meaningful role.

“Once I got back in it wasn’t a situation where I was catching a lot of balls, it was frustrating, it as tough,’’ Moore said. “We had some young guys who were stepping up and making plays. I understand the game, younger guys are making plays they’re not going to take those guys out to swap somebody else in there. That’s part of the game.’’

Then he smiled and added, “The good part about it is I didn’t run around a lot so I still have some juice.’’

In Wednesday’s OTAs, he was taking reps as a returner along with Golden Tate and Jeremy Ross.
He can also help the other wide receivers with the details of the offense that was installed by Lombardi last year.

Even Calvin Johnson.

“It’s scary. I see him as similar to a Marques Colston but more physically gifted,’’ Moore said. “That’s something that’s going to be pretty crazy the second year in this offense —  learning it better, trying to help him with a few little things route-wise that I think can help him a whole lot and make his job easier.’’

On May 12, the morning Moore passed his physical and signed, he happened upon Matthew Stafford and they had breakfast in the Lions’ facility cafeteria. It was the first step of their getting-to-know-you process.

“I’ve definitely been a fan of (Stafford) from afar, just watching his maturation process. Obviously making it to Pro Bowls, being the Pro Bowl MVP,’’ Moore said. “You see all the talent he has on the field. But getting here being able to work with him and understanding that he’s a guy who likes to work, likes to get things right, he’s a perfectionist. I definitely look forward to being out here with him.’’

Moore, who signed a one-year $1.05 million contract, will be in competition with some young wide receivers for a roster spot. That includes Ryan Broyles, Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross, TJ Jones and Greg Salas.

He’s got one thing the others don’t — a deep, long-time familiarity with the offense.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Check out transcript of Detroit Lions chat

If you missed today's chat on the Lions and their organized team activities, check out the transcript here. Loot at the names of those who asked questions - we draw some real big shooters. Hey, I know they're not for real, but it certainly adds to the entertainment value.

Join us for the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 4. It's always fun.
 — Paula Pasche

Detroit Lions softball game to benefit Stephen Tulloch Foundation

Stephen Tulloch and Golden Tate discuss softball game.
The Detroit Lions charity softball game is a week away but the trash talking started Wednesday between team managers Stephen Tulloch and Golden Tate.

It’s all in good fun and for a good cause.

The Annual Stephen Tulloch Celebrity Softball Game will be under the lights on Friday, June 5, at King Boring Field in Dearborn. The gates open at 5 p.m., with the home run derby at 6 p.m., and the game to follow.

More than 50 of the Lions have signed up to participate.
“We have fun activities for families. We have music, food and face painting, you name it we’ll have a lot of fun things out there,’’ Tulloch said. “You get to watch my team beat up on Tate’s team.’’

Instead of offense vs. defense like in past years, Tulloch and Tate had a draft. Tulloch’s first overall pick was Eric Ebron.

Tate couldn’t remember his first-round pick, but he is definitely up for the event.

“You all are going to see a lot of home runs from my team,’’ Tate said. “We’re ready to play ball, have a good time for a great cause. Me and my guy have a small wager for our foundations.’’
The proceeds go to the Stephen Tulloch Foundation which started Operation 55 in 2011. The program has helped hundreds of children and families across metro Detroit by adopting them for the holidays, providing kids dental care, promoting educational projects at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and now partnering with Angels of Hope to help provide a Christmas for families that have been affected by cancer.

Admission to the game is $10. For more information see

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Ten quick hits from today's Detroit Lions OTAs

ALLEN PARK — When the Lions took the field for the second day of organized team activities on Wednesday, there were a few noticeable changes. Here are 10 quick hits from Wednesday’s OTAs that were open to the media:

  1. Quarterback Kellen Moore took snaps with the second group. In his previous three seasons with the Lions he was usually the third quarterback. Moore said on Tuesday he and Dan Orlovsky took turns with the second group. Coach Jim Caldwell said there’s been an uptick in Moore’s progress.

  2. At the end of the workout, the quarterbacks ran barefoot. Moore would only say it’s a “Joe Lombardi thing.”

  3. Sixth-round pick Quandre Diggs worked with the first group in the slot in the nickel package. Caldwell said Diggs’ intensity comes through on the field. He didn’t want to make too much of working with starters saying they don’t have a depth chart, they have a rep chart. Bill Bentley, coming off ACL surgery, participated in drills but not in the team work.

  4. LaAdrian Waddle, who is coming off ACL surgery in January, was on the field but did not participate. The same for Joique Bell who is coming off Achilles surgery.

  5. In many team drills Riley Reiff lined up at left tackle with Cornelius Lucas at right tackle. Travis Swanson was at center and Manny Ramirez at left guard and Taylor Boggs at right guard.

  6. Rookie cornerback Alex Carter was not in attendance because he’s finishing school at Stanford. He’s expected back next week according to Caldwell.

  7. Caldwell said Caraun Reid and Eric Ebron are standouts because of the way they’ve changed physically since last season. Reid took some reps with the starters at defensive tackle.

  8. Taking reps on returns were Lance Moore, Golden Tate and Jeremy Ross. They were wearing flag football belts which is new from last season.

  9. Owner Martha Ford was on the field watching practice.

  10. Second-round pick running back Ameer Abdullah was absent because he’s attending the NFL rookie premiere in Los Angeles.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


James Ihedigbo returns for Detroit Lions OTAs

Safety James Ihedigbo, who missed the first weeks of the Detroit Lions voluntary offseason workouts, has returned for the start of organized team activities today (Tuesday) according to the team website.

Ihedigbo had been working out on his own instead of with the team due to salary issues. He signed a two-year $3.15 million contract a year ago. He is scheduled to make $1.1 million with a $500,000 roster bonus this year.

Ihedigbo started 13 games in 2014 with 71 tackles, four interceptions, two sacks, three forced fumbles and eight passes defended.

The Lions have three of their 10 OTAs this week. OTAs are voluntary. Mandatory minicamp runs June 16-18.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Detroit Lions fans offered enhanced game day view

Artist's rendering via Crain's Detroit Business
The Detroit Lions will join several other NFL teams in allowing fans a close-up view of the players leaving and entering the locker room on game days.

The team announced a long-term deal with MGM Grand on Tuesday to build a space at Ford Field. The MGM Grand Detroit Tunnel Club will be adjacent to the Lions locker room and will accommodate more than 100 fans during home games and stadium events.

Also the lower bowl in the west end zone will be extended to include field level seating for tunnel club season members.

“Season members and guests will experience high energy and pronounced interactivity with Lions players throughout game day,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement. “They’ll be right there when the players are coming in and out of the locker room for pregame, halftime and postgame. That type of engagement can’t be replicated anywhere else.”

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


NFL hires former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz

Jim Schwartz, the former Detroit Lions coach, will not be out of work during the 2015 season.

Schwartz will serve as a consultant to the NFL’s officiating department, according to a report from FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez.

His main duties revolve around providing a coach’s perspective for some of the decisions made by the officiating office, per Marvez’s story. He starts on Tuesday.

It’s a good way for the 48-year-old Schwartz to stay involved in the game after he was let go following the 2014 season when the Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan as head coach. Schwartz had done a good job as the defensive coordinator. The Bills’ defense was ranked fourth in the NFL at the end of the season.

Lions fans won’t soon forget the fact that Schwartz was carried off the field when the Bills defeated the Lions 17-14 at Ford Field in October. Lions kicker Alex Henery missed three field goals including a 50-yard attempt with 21 seconds left. The winning margin was a 50-yard Dan Carpenter field goal with 4 seconds left.

Schwartz was the Lions head coach for five seasons. He was fired after the 2013 season when the Lions went 7-9. Prior to that he was the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2008.

Expect Schwartz to get back into coaching, possibly in the 2016 season. In the meantime, he’s got an interesting opportunity for the coming season.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Detroit Lions announce TV partnership with FOX2, FSD

A new broadcast partnership between the Detroit Lions with FOX2 Detroit and FOX Sports Detroit was announced today (Thursday).

Preseason games — including pre- and post-game shows — will air on FOX2 and throughout Michigan via the Lions’ network affiliates.

Also, the team’s one-hour pregame show “Lions GameDay LIVE” will air on FOX2 Sundays at 11 a.m.; the “Lions Live” postgame show will be simulcast on FSD and immediately following each game; and FOX2 will air “Sportsworks: Lions Game Night “on Sundays at 11 p.m.

“Partnering with FOX2 and Fox Sports Detroit will expand our presence on the local station that broadcasts many of our regular season games along with the most comprehensive sports network in Michigan,” said Lions president Tom Lewand. “Lions fans will a have greater opportunity to view our TV programming than ever before.

During the season, the weekly Monday press conference with coach Jim Caldwell will also air on FSD

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for FOX2 to partner with the Detroit Lions, one of the strongest sports brands in our market. This deal not only enhances our programming lineup but furthers our commitment to our viewers,” said Mike Renda, vice president and general manager of WJBK FOX 2.

It's a multi-year deal, but the specifics were not released.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Five Detroit Lions veterans who need to impress

The third phase of the Detroit Lions offseason starts next week with the first three sessions of organized team activities.

While the players have been working out at the Lions facility for five weeks, they can step up the process during OTAs when they’re allowed to have seven-on-seven or nine-on-nine drills for the first time, although still no live contact is allowed.

They’ll have 10 days of OTAs over the next three weeks leading up to the mandatory three-day minicamp in mid-June.

Here are five veterans who need to impress in OTAs, minicamp and training camp:

  1. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles didn’t see much action in the 2014 season with the new Jim Caldwell regime. The coaching staff didn’t seem to give him much of a chance despite good showings late in preseason games. A battle for jobs is shaping up at wide receiver. Broyles needs to prove he still has his explosion and speed following three major surgeries (two ACLs, one Achilles). This is his first Lions’ offseason where he is not coming off surgery.

  2. LInebacker/pass rusher Kyle Van Noy was injured in the preseason and missed the first eight games of his rookie season in 2014. By the time he was well enough to play the defense was rolling and he wasn’t able to prove he deserved more playing time on defense. As a second-round pick much was expected. Van Noy needs to step up. It’s good he at least got a few snaps on defense (more on special teams), but now he has to show he can be a vital part of the defense.

  3. Tight end Eric Ebron seemed lost in the Lions’ offense especially early last season. Maybe too much was expected of the first-round pick as a rookie. Matthew Stafford has plenty of weapons on offense Ebron needs to prove he is reliable, knows the offense and can be a go-to guy.

  4. Cornerback Bill Bentley was injured in the opener in 2014 and missed the rest of the season. He had won the nickel role in training camp. Coming off ACL surgery, he will have to battle again. Now he’s got more competition. Nevin Lawson, who filled in after Bentley was injured for one game before he was knocked out for season with serious foot injury will be in the battle. So will Josh Wilson, a 30-year-old free agent, and rookie Quandre Diggs, a sixth-round pick out of Texas.

  5. Wide receiver TJ Jones didn’t get a speck of playing time as a rookie due to a nerve injury as a result of offseason shoulder surgery. After Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, there will be plenty of wide receiver candidates for not-so-many roster spots. Jones, a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2014, will need to show he belongs. Corey Fuller is close to a lock to make the 53-man roster. Last week the Lions signed veteran Lance Moore who knows the offense from his time with the Saints. Other wide receivers on the current roster include:  Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross, veteran Greg Salas, Andrew Peacock (practice squad in 2014); and three undrafted rookies — Jared Haggins, Vernon Johnson and Erik Lora.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Bobby, Mo and Joe joined Detroit Lions chat - check it out

Had some interesting Detroit Lions questions Thursday from guys with familiar sounding names — Bobby, Moeller, Darryl and Hilger. It was all in fun. Don't believe me? Check out the transcript here.

Join me for the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.
 — Paula Pasche


Detroit Lions Matt Prater should be fine with NFL extra point rule change

While Deflategate continues to dominate sports headlines, the NFL owners voted Tuesday to change an important part of the game.

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, sent this tweet early Tuesday evening: “The extra point rule for 2015 just changed. Snap for kick from the 15-yard line, 2-pt try stays at 2-yard line and defense can return.’’

"The overall goal is to make the play more challenging, and to make it a more skilled play than what it was,'' Blandino said.

Basically the coaches will have to decide between a 33-yard PAT or a 2-point conversion.

NFL teams went 162-171 (94.7 percent) on field goals between 30-35 yards in 2014, according to ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates.

Lions’ kicker Matt Prater was four-of-five on field goals in the 30- to 39-yard range in 2014. He had a 37-yard attempt blocked in Chicago on Dec. 21.

According to the NFL Network, in 2014 extra point kicks were 99.5 percent accurate. In preseason experiment for two weeks with snap from the 15-yard line the accuracy was 94.3 percent.

What do you think? 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Detroit Lions sign DE Corey Wootton

The Lions added depth along the defensive line with the signing of Corey Wootton on Thursday. The one-year deal brings the Lions roster to the maximum of 90.

Wootton, a fourth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2010 out of Northwestern, is joining his third NFC North team. The defensive end played with the Bears from 2010 to 2013 and spent 2014 with the Vikings.

Wootton, 27, played in 15 games last season and had 16 tackles and one sack. In 32 games with the Bears in 2012 and 2013 he had 13 sacks, three forced fumbles and 61 tackles.

Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones are expected to start at end.

Wootton is expected to battle for a backup spot with Devin Taylor, Larry Webster and Darryl Tapp. Phillip Hunt and Kerry Hyder, who both signed as free agents, could be in the mix too. Hunt was with the Colts in training camp in 2014 while Hyder was on the 2014 Jets practice squad.

Wootton is versatile like Jones, so he can also play on the inside.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford welcomes rookies

Rookies Laken Tomlinson (left) and Corey Robinson
 at the Taste of the Lions on Tuesday at Ford Field.
DETROIT — It’s a good week for the Detroit Lions rookies who get their first chance to meet and work with the veterans.

Matthew Stafford at the Taste of the Lions at Ford Field.
“It’s been great. They bring a bit of excitement into the building,’’ Matthew Stafford said at the Taste of the Lions on Tuesday. “You have new teammates, young guys who are here to prove themselves. We have some great guys, they are quiet which is great, ready to come in and learn. Each position group guys help their guys along. It’s a fun time of year.’’

The Ford Field event was the first time we’ve gotten reaction from Stafford on the draft.

It’s not a stretch to say the guy who was sacked 45 times last year is pleased especially with first-round pick Laken Tomlinson.

“I was happy. Any time we have players that can help us win games I’m all for it. Obviously we were a little thin at the (guard) position, to add a guy who’s got great character, played great the last two years at Duke. I was fired up,’’ Stafford said.

It wasn’t just the addition of Tomlinson at the draft that put a smile on Stafford’s face.

“Getting Manny (Ramirez) in that trade too was great to add depth,’’ Stafford said. “We’ve upgraded that from the week before the draft to the week after the draft it’s like night and day. We have so many more bodies and guys who are capable of playing well.’’

Along with Tomlinson the Lions drafted tackle Corey Robinson in the seventh round. Plus the run game got a boost in the draft with the addition of running back Ameer Abdullah and fullback Mike Burton.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Check out transcript from Detroit Lions' chat

Coach Jim Caldwell at Taste of the Lions on Tuesday night.
If you missed Thursday's weekly chat on the Detroit Lions, check out the transcript here.

Plenty of questions remain with training camp more than two months away. The rookie minicamp is complete and this week the young guys have joined the veterans for workouts.

We'll chat again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. Bring your questions or just read along. It's always fun — Paula Pasche


Detroit Lions sign veteran WR Lance Moore

With rookie minicamp behind them, the Detroit Lions have signed 31-year-old wide receiver Lance Moore.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi knows Moore from the years they spent with the New Orleans Saints including the Super Bowl championship team from the 2009 season.

Moore spent nine seasons (2005-2013) in New Orleans. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2014 season where he played in 14 games with 14 catches for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

 For his career he has 360 receptions for 4,479 yards and 40 touchdowns. He originally was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Toledo by the Cleveland Browns.

On Tuesday, the Lions also signed rookie running back Desmond Martin (Wayne State) who was a tryout at the minicamp over the weekend.

The Lions have a history of finding undrafted players and give them a good chance at making the 53-man roster.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Quick impressions from Detroit Lions rookie minicamp

Lions rookie running backs at camp on Friday.
ALLEN PARK — While it’s too early to make any kind of judgments, here are a few quick impressions from the first day of Detroit Lions rookie minicamp on Friday. (It was open to the media for about 20 minutes.)

  1. First-round pick guard Laken Tomlinson finished every drill, kept going and going almost running into this reporter. (See video). Looks solid, but not that much bigger than the other offensive linemen.

  2. It’s really odd seeing someone new wearing No. 90. Defensive tackle Gabe Wright wore 90 in college at Auburn and asked to wear it with the Lions. Looked solid in line drills.

  3. Running back Ameer Abdullah (second-round pick from Nebraska) ran the ladder drills smoothly like he’s done it a million times before. (See video)

  4. Undrafted running back Zach Zenner (South Dakota State) ran drills next to fullback Mike Barton and they looked about the same size. Zenner listed at 5-11 and 223 while Barton is 6-0, 230 pounds.

  5. Coaches had players repeat some of the drills — that’s why they have a rookie minicamp. Some mistakes or unfamiliarity wouldn’t be tolerated a few weeks from now when they're practicing with the veterans.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Detroit Lions sign 5 draft picks, a dozen undrafted free agents

This weekend is the first chance the Lions coaches have to work with their seven draft picks and free agents during the three-day rookie minicamp. The action starts today (Friday).

Five of the seven Detroit Lions draft picks have been signed. The Lions announced they have reached deals with cornerback Alex Carter, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, fullback Mike Burton, cornerback Quandre Diggs and offensive tackle Corey Robinson.

That leaves just first-round pick Laken Tomlinson and second-round pick Ameer Abdullah left to be signed. They can participate in rookie camp without signed contracts.

Zach Zenner is among a dozen undrafted free agents. The South Dakota State running back ran for more than 2,000 yard in each of the last three seasons.

Other undrafted free agents signed include: Memphis guard Al Bond, Duke quarterback Anthony Boone, Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza, Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson, Texas A&M Commerce wide receiver Vernon Johnson, North Carolina A&T wide receiver Desmond Lawrence, Kent State tight end Casey Pierce, Rutgers linebacker Kevin Snyder, Utah State safety Brian Suite, Alfred State running back Rasheed Williams and Central Florida guard Torrian Wilson.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Join live chat on Detroit Lions at 3 p.m. on Thursday

Join me for a live chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday discussing the Detroit Lions.

 Coming off draft weekend, there are still plenty of questions and issues as the team prepares for rookie minicamp this weekend.

That's first-round pick Laken Tomlinson as he was introduced to Detroit media on Friday.

Bring your questions and comments. It's always a good time. — Paula Pasche


NFL analysts grade Detroit Lions 2015 draft

Here’s a look at how  NFL analysts from around the country graded the Detroit Lions 2015 draft class:

Bleacher Report grade: B-plus
Comments: Every football fan watching the draft wondered what the Lions were doing reaching for a guard with the No. 28 overall pick. Then they heard Tomlinson's inspirational story, and they all wanted the world's biggest future neurosurgeon on their team. Tomlinson, second-year center Travis Swanson, third-year guard Larry Warford and veteran swing guard/center Manny Ramirez—acquired in the trade down to 28—form an imposing interior line.
Not only will they help keep quarterback Matthew Stafford clean, they'll open holes for Abdullah, who ran behind Tomlinson at the Senior Bowl. Abdullah should give the Lions the explosive, versatile back they never quite had in Reggie Bush.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper grade: B
Comments: The Lions were involved in one of the few trades we saw in a semi-sleepy Round 1, and the strategy was clear: Fix the offensive line, particularly on the interior. They let the Broncos move up and added Manny Ramirez in pick swap, which landed them a player who has a real shot to start at center, which was a trouble spot for them in 2014. After moving down, they took Laken Tomlinson, a player I had rated as the No. 1 guard in the draft -- again, that's a guy who should start immediately at left guard. Even if Tomlinson is a bit of a reach, you added one starter and potentially two with the value of a single pick. That's not too bad. Reggie Bush is gone, but Ameer Abdullah is now here. This was about where I thought Abdullah would go -- solid pick. Alex Carter gives them some needed depth in the secondary, and the addition of Gabe Wright gives them much-needed depth on the interior of the defensive line. Wright could make some plays as a rotation player. Quadre Diggs is an intriguing physical talent who has the chance to stick, and Corey Robinson is a massive tackle who might end up at guard. The Lions clearly wanted to improve the interior of the offensive line and add useful depth on defense, and they accomplished those things. Abdullah will also be a fun one to watch.

Sports Illustrated grade: A-minus
Comments from SI’s Doug Farrar: The Lions have dealt with offensive line issues even as they've established themselves as one of the NFL's more prolific pass-heavy teams in the last few seasons. With their first two picks in the draft, they sought to bring more balance to the Force, so to speak. First-round guard Laken Tomlinson from Duke is a big, smart, aggressive player whose stock has been rising. And Nebraska back Ameer Abdullah is a great fit for Jim Caldwell's scheme as a pure one-cut-and-go runner. Third-round cornerback Alex Carter from Stanford may project better as a safety in the long run. He's a little too slow in his transitions to deal with the best outside receivers. Fourth-round defensive tackle Gabe Wright from Auburn won't make anyone forget about Ndamukong Suh, but he is a reliable rotational player with some production potential. The potential sleeper pick here is Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs, a four-year starter who's the brother of Quentin Jammer and projects pretty well as a slot corner. grade: B
Comments: In a span of about 30 minutes, the Lions upgraded their interior offensive line and managed to get more picks in the process. Matthew Stafford is no doubt quite happy at this news, and while some saw Tomlinson as a reach at the tail end of the first round, he's a safe pick that will help the team. Abdullah was Mayock's No. 3 back in the draft and is a steal at the end of the second round. He'll be a nice fit in the Lions offense while replacing Reggie Bush. Carter is a smart corner who could be a nice weapon to combat the other quarterbacks and wideouts in the division.The Lions addressed some big needs early while moving around in the draft. They took chances on some players' development on Day 3.

Pete Prisco at grade: B-minus
Comments: I loved the pick of guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round. He gives them a great pair of guards with Larry Warford. They will be able to run the football now with those two power players. … Over the course of the three days, the Lions did a solid job. It's clear they want to help their run game. They also traded to get Denver center Manny Ramirez, who should start. Tomlinson isn't a sexy pick, but he is a good player.

Evan Silva at Rotoworld grade: C-plus
Comments: GM Martin Mayhew began his draft by acquiring two fifth-round picks and useful reserve G/C Manuel Ramirez from the Broncos at the cost of dropping just five spots in round one. The Lions were surprisingly hot after CB/S tweener Carter on day two, sending the 143rd pick to division-rival Minnesota in exchange for just an eight-spot move up the board. Early on day three, the Lions gave up a 2016 third-round pick for No. 113. Tomlinson may not have offered ideal "value" at No. 28, but is a pro-ready mauler with underrated pass-blocking ability. Abdullah will run circles around Joique Bell in Lions camp and spark Detroit's previously plodding run game. Carter, Wright, and Burton are players I wasn't especially high on during the pre-draft phase. I do think Robinson was an excellent flier. Although this wasn't my favorite draft from top to bottom, Mayhew attacked multiple needs and made his team better.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Detroit Lions draft OT Corey Robinson in seventh

ALLEN PARK — The Lions started and finished this weekend’s draft by selecting offensive linemen. Offensive guard Laken Tomlinson was taken in the first round and on Saturday the took offensive tackle Corey Robinson, a three-year starter from South Carolina. Also veteran guard/center Manny Ramirez was acquired in a trade on Thursday.

Robinson, who is 6-foot-8 and 344 pounds, played left tackle the last two years after starting his collegiate career as a defensive tackle.

“He gets out of bed big,’’ Lions offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn said. “He rolls out of bed tall and long. He is smart . He is a North Carolina native, as am I, so these are good things.”

While Robinson was a left tackle the last two seasons, he will learn both sides. Washburn worked Robinson out in South Carolina a month ago.

“Just a fantastic young man, very big. He’s played a lot of ball in the SEC, which we’ve had a little bit of success with that with our recent picks, so I’m excited about him adding depth to our tackle spot,’’ Washburn said.

Robinson has room for growth as a player.

“I think for him it’s just a natural progression that he was going through at Carolina because he switched from O-line to D-line early and then he’s been a left tackle there,’’ Washburn said. “They do a really good job of developing their guys. I know their O-line coach, Shawn Elliott, pretty well. He coached my brother at Appalachian State, so they do a really good job. It’s just continuing that progression he’s on right now, so that’s about it.”

Washburn said it’s just too early to pinpoint who will play where. Although Martin Mayhew said on Friday that Riley Reiff will play left tackle.

“I am excited about the infusion of depth. Absolutely. I am excited about it,’’ Washburn said.

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