Lions look for skill players on 3rd day of NFL draft
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions had already drafted three players who could provide protection for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Then they added somebody who can potentially back him up.
Detroit picked Michigan's Jake Rudock in the sixth round Saturday, the first quarterback drafted by the Lions since Stafford went No. 1 overall in 2009. The Lions made seven picks Saturday, wrapping up a draft heavy on linemen for Detroit.
''I've just watched (Stafford) over the years. You know, I remember when he got drafted,'' Rudock said. ''I just know he's a very good player and I think he has a big year ahead of him and you just know he is a professional from everything I've heard of him.''
After taking offensive lineman Taylor Decker, defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and center Graham Glasgow in the first three rounds, the Lions returned Saturday for an eventful final day of the draft. Detroit picked safety Miles Killebrew of Southern Utah in the fourth round, then took offensive lineman Joe Dahl of Washington State and linebacker Antwione Williams of Georgia Southern in the fifth.
In the sixth round, Detroit picked Rudock, defensive lineman Anthony Zettel of Penn State and long snapper Jimmy Landes of Baylor. With their final pick, the Lions drafted running back Dwayne Washington of Washington in the seventh round.
Rudock is the first Michigan quarterback picked in the sixth round since Tom Brady in 2000. Lions general manager Bob Quinn was working for the Patriots when they took Brady, but he was just starting out.
''I was like in my first four months, so I didn't really know like - I knew where the coffee machine was,'' said Quinn, who was running his first draft with the Lions. ''I know there's a little parallel there, but this isn't the same conversation.''
Rudock and Glasgow were teammates at Michigan.
''I just shot him a quick text and just said, `Hey, what's up teammate?''' Rudock said. ''He was like, `Wait, are you serious?' Yeah, so that was pretty awesome.''
Killebrew was surprised to end up with the Lions after their coaches gave him a hard time at the Senior Bowl. It turned out they were just putting him through a bit of a test.
''They told me, `Oh no. We don't necessarily like you. We don't think we're going to take you,''' Killebrew said. ''I'm talking to the coach today and he said, `Oh, we just wanted to see how you would react to it.'''
Killebrew was credited with a team-high 132 tackles (74 solo) last season. Listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Killebrew says he enjoys being a big hitter.
''I would much rather be the hammer than the nail,'' he said. ''In its purest sense, football is a collision sport, and as long as I'm doing it safely and legally, I enjoy it.''
Zettel, a native of Tawas, returns to the state where he was born. He says he was always a fan of the Lions and loved watching Barry Sanders growing up.
As a long snapper, Landes wasn't expecting to be drafted at all.
''I was very surprised,'' he said. ''I was expecting a free agency, just because I know how long snappers rarely get drafted. I wasn't expecting anything in the draft, but man, this is a great surprise. What an honor to be drafted as a long snapper.''
The Lions tweeted a video of Landes snapping the ball from the top of the stadium at Baylor and landing it in a trash can next to the goalposts.
''Just kind of aim it at the left field goal post and you can see the ball just curve to the right,'' he said. ''It dived straight down at the last second.''
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