OG Darren Keyton (Central Michigan) - UDFA
Central Michigan offensive guard/center Darren Keyton joined the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent after starting 36 games in college for the Chippewas. He is one of four UDFAs from a college in Michigan to sign with the Lions this year, and his path to joining the team required some extra work (see below).
Keyton wasn't a part of the Lions' original group of undrafted free agent signings, but he earned a contract after impressing the coaches as a tryout at the team's rookie minicamp.
What the experts are saying
Positive: Nasty, small-area blocker with good size and growth potential. Quick off the snap, attacks assignments, and is always looking for someone to hit. Explosive at the point, jolts defenders once engaged in a block, and knocks them from their angle of attack. Bends his knees, gets leverage on opponents, then easily turns them from the action. Keeps his head on a swivel and works well with linemates.
Negative: Lacks balance blocking in motion. Struggles to adjust and a bit stiff.
Analysis: Keyton is an underrated blocking prospect with the ability to line up at any of the three interior offensive line positions. He lacks great upside, yet his intensity and wherewithal on the field give him an upper hand.
Outlook for 2013
Keyton, who can play center as well as guard, is going to have a tough time making the 53-man roster. The Lions have Rob Sims, Larry Warford and Dominic Raiola set to start in the interior of the O-line, and Bill Nagy, Rodney Austin and Dylan Gandy all will be in the mix for backup roles. The Lions will likely keep five interior offensive linemen, so Keyton will probably have to beat out two of Nagy, Austin and Gandy to make the team. In all likelihood, Keyton will be battling for a spot on the practice squad rather than the 53-man roster.