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ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions added some young talent to bolster the depth on their aging offensive line, taking Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff with 23rd overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night.
"We have five quality starters, but it is good to have a young guy in the pipeline," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said.
Mayhew vowed that the team would stick to its philosophy of taking the top player available unless he was a quarterback. Mayhew insisted he wouldn't put a need, such as cornerback, ahead of a better player at a position of strength on the roster.
With the top corners off the board, the Lions got someone to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford in the future.
Detroit tried to move up, and once thought it would trade back to accumulate more selections, but decided to stick with its pick because of who was there.
"It's not very often that the second offensive lineman goes 23rd overall," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
The 6-foot-5, 313-pound Reiff was athletic enough to be a three-time state wrestling champion and to play tight end and defensive tackle before moving to the offensive line. Reiff, who is from Parkston, S.D., skipped his senior season to enter the draft. He started 37 of 39 games for the Hawkeyes. He was a first-string left offensive tackle in 29 games, right tackle for one game and made seven starts at left guard.
Mayhew said Reiff can play four positions, Schwartz said he will develop as a left tackle in the league.
"Even though he's still a young player and will improve, we're not drafting a guy that is a developmental player," Schwartz said. "He played at a high level in the Big Ten."
Reiff said he can play any position on the offensive line, including center.
"It doesn't really matter, wherever I can help the team," he said.
Detroit has re-signed left tackle Jeff Backus, who is 34, this offseason and might groom Reiff to perhaps replace 27-year-old Gosder Cherilus, who was its previous offensive lineman taken in the first round, or Backus in a couple of years. Cherilus was selected 17th overall in 2008 by former general manager Matt Millen and has had an inconsistent career.
"Having a guy in the pipeline to be able to play that position is incredibly important," Schwartz said.
The other starting offensive linemen are 33-year-old center Dominic Raiola, 30-year-old guard Stephen Peterman and 28-year-old guard Rob Sims.
Detroit had its lowest first-round pick since 1992 when it drafted Robert Porcher 26th overall. The franchise ended its 11-year playoff drought last season with its first 10-win season since 1995.
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