Going into the 2013 NFL Draft, the thinking was that if one of the top three offensive tackles fell to the fifth overall pick, he would be the Detroit Lions' selection. Regardless of if it was Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel or Lane Johnson, the general consensus was that they were the top three players on the Lions' draft board given the combination of their talent and Detroit's need at offensive tackle.
Since the top three tackles were off the board before the Lions even went on the clock, this discussion didn't come into play last Thursday. The Lions didn't have a chance to go with a top tackle, and they instead went with defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
Had one of Fisher, Joeckel and Johnson made it to No. 5, would the Lions still have taken Ansah? According to Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, it would have depended on which tackle fell. It turns out that the Lions had Ansah third on their draft board rather than fourth, according to what Mayhew said in an interview with 97.1 The Ticket.
Mayhew unsurprisingly declined to disclose who the top two players were on the Lions' draft board, but common sense suggests it was a combination of Fisher and Joeckel/Johnson. Fisher ended up being the No. 1 overall pick, so it's a safe bet he was No. 1 on the Lions' draft board. Joeckel was the No. 2 overall pick, but Dave Birkett actually thinks that Johnson was second on the Lions' draft board instead of Joeckel, meaning that had Joeckel made it to No. 5, the Lions still would have taken Ansah.
Regardless of who the top two players were on the Lions' board, it's interesting that Ansah was their third most desired option at No. 5. Considering they landed him without having to move up, I suppose the top four wasn't quite as bad for the Lions as it originally seemed. And when you consider what the outrage would have been like if the Lions had taken Ansah over one of the top tackles, it's probably for the best that things worked out the way they did.