5 Players the Detroit Lions Will Regret Passing on in the 2013 NFL Draft
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Former BYU phenom Ezekiel Ansah was the Detroit Lions' top pick in this year's draft, and while his potential is intriguing, his boom-or-bust status is scary for a team trying to improve upon a disappointing 4-12 season.
That begs the question: Was there a better selection for the Lions to make at No. 5?
Detroit fans and talking heads have been asking that question since Ansah's name was announced, but it shouldn't just apply to the Lions' first-round pick.
Detroit filled a lot of needs in the draft, but it bypassed a lot of talented players to do it.
Here are five players the Lions will regret passing up in this year's draft.
5. Charles Johnson, WR
Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz have already shown an affinity for players of Johnson's ilk. He, like Joique Bell and Chris Greenwood, was an under-the-radar prospect from a non-Division I school in Michigan.
He posted two consecutive seasons at Grand Valley State University with over 1,000 yards receiving, and he flashed NFL-ready speed at his pro day when he ran a 4.3 40-yard dash.
The Lions were looking for speed and field-stretching ability at wideout, so they targeted Corey Fuller in the sixth round. However, Johnson is arguably a better prospect and could've been had a round later.
The Lions will get plenty of chances to see what they missed. Johnson was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
4. Bacarri Rambo, S
Rambo got one of his three picks in 2012 against Auburn.
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The Lions signed Glover Quin to shore up their defensive backfield, but that doesn't mean the safety position is secure. The Lions will still rely on Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey to contribute significantly—and that is a big risk.
This is Delmas and Spievey's last chance to remain healthy and prove their worth. They're one stint on the sidelines with an injury away from the waiver wire. The Lions needed to add depth and young talent at the safety position as an insurance policy.
Bacarri Rambo was a great value in Round 6. On talent alone, he was a third- or fourth-rounder, but off-field issues made teams weary. The Washington Redskins got a steal when they selected him with the 121st overall pick.
Rambo is a player who has some limitations in coverage, but he could contribute immediately and in a few years would be ready for the full-time starter's job.
He'll be a solid NFL safety for years to come.
3. Jesse Williams, DT
Williams performs at Alabama's pro day.
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Whatever the reason, the Seahawks benefited greatly by the Lions' decision to part ways with the pick. They selected Jesse Williams, a defensive tackle from Alabama with first/second-round ability, who dropped to the fifth because of durability concerns.
The Lions selected a punter. To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
Detroit has two great tackles—Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly—but lost interior depth when Cory Williams and Sammie Lee Hill departed during free agency. Both were stout against the run, and that's Jesse William's strength as well.
Prior to the draft, Mayhew signed C.J. Mosley, a solid eight-year veteran with absolutely no ceiling. It wasn't a terrible signing, but why not add run-stopping depth in the draft? Williams would have cost Mayhew the same amount of money, but he's younger and comes with infinitely more potential.
Instead, the Seahawks defense, already one of the best in the NFL, got stronger and the Lions will be looking for another DT in two years.
2. Arthur Brown, OLB
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In the second round, the Lions selected Darius Slay, a cornerback who has the physical tools to be great but only has one good year of college football under his belt.
The Lions have three second-year cornerbacks on their roster already waiting to play, so regardless of Slay's ability, cornerback wasn't as big of a need as some people think it was.
Ultimately, Slay will be a nice addition, but Arthur Brown would've had a greater impact.
His speed against the run would have greatly improved the Lions defense, a unit that gave up too many big plays on the ground in 2012.
ESPN rates Brown's range against the run "exceptional" and says this:
Possesses sideline-to-sideline range. At his best protected so he can scrape over the top. Light on his feet and transitions quickly when changing directions. Closes quickly and can make up ground when in pursuit. Can be a bit more consistent with his angles but it's a minor knock comparatively.
The Ravens took Brown with the 24th pick in the second round. He'll excel in their defensive scheme and fill Ray Lewis' shoes admirably. With Detroit, he would have started and sent Ashley Palmer back to special teams.
1. Tavon Austin, WR
Austin on draft day, with el Capitan.
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Picking Ansah at No. 5 made sense given the Lions desperate situation at defensive end, but that doesn't mean they won't rue the day they let Tavon Austin slip through their fingers.
Austin was the most dynamic offensive weapon in the draft. The Rams drafted him No. 8 overall, and he will give them the home run threat the've been missing since, well, Marshall Faulk.
The Lions offense was dealt a huge blow when they lost Jahvid Best in 2011. Matthew Stafford and Co. haven't been the same since. The addition of Reggie Bush will help, but even he doesn't provide the big-play threat that Best did.
Austin would've easily filled that role and taken the Lions offense to new heights in 2013.
Instead, fans will watch as he elevates Sam Bradford's reputation and helps the Rams get back to playoff contention.