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News » Backus could move on draft day

Backus could move on draft day

Backus could move on draft day
ALLEN PARK -- For the past several years, the Detroit Lions have looked for a solid left guard to play next to tackle Jeff Backus. They have tried an assortment of players and failed every time.

From Eric Beverly to David

Loverne to Kyle Kosier to Rick DeMulling to Ross Verba (then back to DeMulling) and then on to Edwin Mulitalo and Damion Cook, the Lions have yet to find a solid player for that spot.

Perhaps the Lions finally can fix their problem at left guard by putting Backus in that position.

The Lions have the first pick in Saturday's draft and it's possible they could select a left tackle, either Baylor's Jason Smith or Virginia's Eugene Monroe. If that happens, they likely would shift Backus to guard and start the rookie at tackle.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has said the team has considered that possibility and Backus, who has not exactly embraced a possible move, won't fight it.

"I'll deal with it when it happens," Backus said.

If the Lions do go in that direction in the draft, it would be the second consecutive season they selected a tackle. Gosder Cherilus was taken with the 17th overall pick last season. While Cherilus had a slow start, he played well as the year progressed. Still, the Lions need to find more help for an offensive line that gave up 52 sacks, the second-most in the league last season. The Lions also were ranked 30th in total rushing last year.

There has been some speculation that the Lions might use their second first-round pick (20th overall) to take a left tackle. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has the Lions taking Mississippi tackle Michael Oher at that position in his mock draft.

However, the Lions aren't likely to go in that direction. It's one thing if the Lions chose an elite tackle at the top of the draft and shifted Backus to guard. But a player taken in the middle of the draft isn't likely to be a significant enough upgrade to move Backus out of his starting spot.

There are some intriguing possibilities at guard in the draft if the Lions are willing to invest a second- or third-round pick in the offensive line. At the top of the second round, where the Lions have the 33rd overall pick, are several highly rated centers who could switch to guard.

Centers Alex Mack of California, who might end up going in the first round, Louisville's Eric Wood and Oregon's Max Unger are candidates at No. 33.

Drafting one of those three would serve a dual purpose. The Lions would meet their need at left guard and they would have a quality backup for starting center Dominic Raiola, something they've also lacked for years.

While the Lions are hoping to re-sign Raiola to a long-term deal, he's in the final year of his contract. Signing a young center/guard would help protect the Lions in the event Raiola leaves as an unrestricted free agent.

A couple of guards, Oklahoma's Duke Robinson (330 pounds) and Texas Tech's Louis Vasquez (325 pounds), definitely would add some bulk to the interior and could be selected in the third round, where the Lions have the 65th and 82nd picks.

If the Lions don't address the offensive line relatively early in the draft, they will miss out. Because of trades, the Lions don't have a fourth- or fifth-round pick and their sixth-round pick, despite being at the top of the round, is the 174th overall selection.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 22, 2009

Daniel Bullocks Name: Daniel Bullocks
Position: S
Age: 25
Experience: 2 years
College: Nebraska
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