Detroit Lions take South Carolina's Devin Taylor in NFL draft

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions lost both of last season's starting defensive ends and used the final day of the NFL draft to try to fill those holes.

Two days after taking end Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions selected Devin Taylor with their first pick in Saturday's fourth round. The South Carolina end could join Ansah in bookending a line that lost Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch during the offseason.

Both ends are tall — Ansah is 6-5, Taylor is 6-7 — with long wingspans and join 6-5 Jason Jones, who came from Seattle as a free agent.

"One of our goals coming in was to get bigger and more athletic and Devin does that," Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew said, adding Taylor's long arms were a plus. "That was something we kind of focused on."

Taylor started the final 40 games of his career and had 39 tackles for loss, including 21 sacks during his career at South Carolina. He also had two interceptions. He was an SEC first-team honoree after his sophomore season lining up alongside fellow end Jadeveon Clowney, whom many considered the best pro prospect to play college football last season.

That didn't bother Taylor.

"I never really had a problem being the 'other guy,'" he said. "If anything, it just made me want to work harder."

Lions coach Jim Schwartz wouldn't speculate on what side Taylor or Ansah will line up on but added both will have ample chances to play.

"We use a lot of those guys," he said, referring to his defensive linemen. "It's not like the O-line or quarterback. We give (defensive linemen) lots of time."

The long arms on the outside, Schwartz added, should help the ends shed blockers more effectively. The chance of swatting down passes is a plus, along with one other potential benefit.

"We have a good chance to lead the NFL in rebounding," he quipped.

Detroit traded down in the fifth round to get an extra sixth-round pick and selected Appalachian State punter Sam Martin late in the fifth. He'll get plenty of chances to win the starting job after veteran Nick Harris didn't return. Mayhew said the team liked Martin's versatility — he kicked off for the Mountaineers and was a holder on field goal tries — when he worked out for them.

The trade gave the Lions two sixth-round picks and they used the first to take Virginia Tech wide receiver Corey Fuller. They also selected Notre Dame running back Theo Riddick, whose best chance to make the team likely will be as a kick returner since the Lions already have free-agent signing Reggie Bush and Mikel Leshoure on the roster.

Riddick, taken with the 199th overall selection Saturday, was a slot receiver during his junior season with the Fighting Irish.

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