Few teams were expected to make a jump from good to elite as much as the Detroit Lions were in 2012. They fought hard down the stretch in 2011, with their offense keeping pace with teams like the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, but they were let down by their defense in the end.
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Most assumed that an offseason would fix those issues, but it seems to have made things worse. The defense and the offense heavily regressed, and now they have a top five pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Having the pick is certainly good for them, as they have some serious needs to fill.
Matthew Fairburn and Dan Kadar collaborated on the latest SB Nation mock draft on Monday, and they have the Lions taking Ezekiel Ansah, a defensive end out of BYU:
Surprise! What fun is a pre-combine, pre-free agency mock draft if you aren't going to throw in a few weird picks to make things interesting. Defensive end is the one spot on Detroit's defensive line that needs fixing. They spent a lot of time with Ezekial Ansah at the Senior Bowl, and the BYU defensive end dominated the game. He could be atop their board.
It's certainly a surprise pick, as Ansah doesn't go this early in most drafts around the Internet, but this one does at least make sense given the reasoning provided. The Lions are familiar with him and they do like him.
On top of that, Ansah fits the bill for what they want to do. Detroit has invested heavily in their defensive line in the past and it hasn't necessarily paid off. Now they have some guys on the way out and adding a player like Ansah, on the surface, can only help them.