ALLEN PARK, Mich. – For the first time in his seven-draft tenure as general manager of the Detroit Lions, Martin Mayhew ended up going through an entire seven-round draft without taking a wide receiver.
Not that there weren’t times he considered it.
“There were a couple of times during the draft when a receiver’s name was up there,” Mayhew said. “But there was somebody else who was more of a reason to go in a different direction.”
Mayhew did not indicate in what rounds those were, but they likely weren’t in the third or fourth rounds, when the Lions traded up to nab specific players. The Lions drafted defensive back Alex Carter in the third round and then took defensive tackle Gabe Wright in the fourth round.
Considering the Lions traded down in the first round, it’s likely that was not a targeted round for a receiver, either. So that would leave the second, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds for the Lions. They took running back Ameer Abdullah in the second. In the fifth, they took fullback Michael Burton. They drafted cornerback Quandre Diggs in the sixth and offensive tackle Corey Robinson in the seventh.
All were in positions of need -- perhaps a bigger need than receiver, where the Lions are set with their starters, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Detroit still needs some depth there, as Corey Fuller, Ryan Broyles and Jeremy Ross are the main players who have experience there.
To be fair, though, Mayhew hasn’t exactly had much success drafting receivers.
In 2009, Mayhew drafted Derrick Williams in the third round. In 2010, he took Tim Toone as Mr. Irrelevant. In 2011, he took Titus Young, and drafted Broyles in 2012. Both of those were second-round picks. He selected Fuller in 2013 and took TJ Jones last year.
Of those players, only Broyles, Fuller and Jones are still in the league and still with the Lions. Fuller and Broyles are backups and Jones spent last season on the PUP list.
With no receivers picked, Mayhew and the Lions could now look to the undrafted free agents and possibly some free agent veterans if they are looking for receiver competition in camp.