The Lions were very active in the draft ending with seven draft choices. Martin Mayhew made three trades during the draft. Mayhew traded back with Denver from pick 23 to pick 28 and picked up a 5th round pick in 2015, a 2016 5th round pick and veteran center/guard Manny Ramirez. This was a great move by Mayhew to get value and add depth to the interior offensive line. Mayhew took Laken Tomlinson with pick 28 to upgrade the LG position with a good pass blocker and run blocker. Laken is a high character guard with some athleticism, high motor and mauling technique. Laken struggles on the second level in space but was strong in both pass blocking (1st) and run blocking (8th) per PFF.
The Lions continued to upgrade the run game after the cut of Reggie Bush by adding Running Back Ameer Abdullah with pick 54. Abdullah had great production at Nebraska and can help in the return game for Detroit too. Abdullah is a good receiver with no drops the last two seasons and should be a good complement back to the workhorse Joique Bell. Abdullah had fumble issues and some size issues but can be a very tough back to bring down with his ability to make tacklers miss and ability to hit open creases quickly.
The Lions took outside CB Alex Carter from Stanford in Round 3 with pick 80. Mayhew traded up 8 spots to pick 80 from pick 88 and gave up the 5th round pick they received in the first round trade back with Denver. Carter should provide the outside depth CB Detroit is looking to develop. Carter can press and tackle well but is stiff in the hips and allows an inside release. Carter learning under DC Teryl Austin should help his transition along with Rashean Mathis there for veteran guidance.
The Lions made their third trade in Round 4 of the draft. Detroit gave up their 3rd round pick in 2016 to Philadelphia for penetrating Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright in the 4th round. Wright is a high motor defensive tackle that is quick off the ball. Wright lacked production his senior season but has good potential with his quickness and motor. He will get 25-30 snaps in the Lions DT rotation and with refined technique can turn that potential into production.
The Lions rounded out the draft with Fullback Michael Burton in the 5th round (via Johnson trade) to replace the departed Jed Collins. The Lions added a nickel CB in Quandre Diggs in Round 6 and a mauling Right Tackle in Corey Robinson from South Carolina in Round 7. Burton should start and Diggs and Robinson have a chance to be a top backup.
Undrafted Free Agents
The Lions added intriguing undrafted free agents running back Zach Zenner (South Dakota State), strong safety Isiah Johnson (Georgia Tech), WR Vernon Johnson (Texas A&M Commerce) and guards Torrain Wilson (Central Florida) and Al Bond (Memphis). Zenner and Johnson have the bests chance to make the roster as the 4th RB and 5th safety and the two guards have a shot if Detroit keeps five interior linemen.