Despite some pressing concerns, the Lions went the first five rounds of the draft having avoided a lineman on either side of the ball. That came to an end late Saturday afternoon when Detroit chose the big-framed Ledbetter.
A two-year starter in the competitive SEC, Ledbetter had a breakout year in 2016. In 12 games, he managed 7.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. In his junior year, Ledbetter won the starting job at defensive end, but he slid over to defensive tackle in 2016 and really found his niche.
In the NFL, many believed him better suited as a 3-4 defensive end, but in Detroit he’ll almost assuredly play on the inside. The Lions have desperately needed a pass rush from the inside ever since the acquisition of Tyrunn Walker never panned out.
Ledbetter isn’t likely to win that role right away, but his athleticism certainly gives him an opportunity to win the 3-tech starting job a few years down the line.
Lions 2017 draft picks:
- Round 1, Pick 21 (21 overall): LB Jarrad Davis, Florida
- Round 2, Pick 21 (53 overall): CB Teez Tabor, Florida
- Round 3, Pick 32 (96 overall): WR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois
- Round 4, Pick 16 (124 overall): LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee
- Round 4, Pick 20 (128 overall): TE Michael Roberts, Toledo
- Round 5, Pick 21 (165 overall): CB Jamal Agnew, San Diego
- Round 6, Pick 21 (205 overall): DT Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas
Lions remaining picks
- Round 6, Pick 31 (215 overall) - Via Patriots from Kyle Van Noy Trade
- Round 7, Pick 32 (250 overall) - Via Patriots from Michael Williams Trade
Top remaining needs for Lions:
- Defensive end
Defensive tackle Wide receiver
- Running back
Cornerback Tight end
- Free safety
NFL Draft schedule
What: Rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft
When: Saturday, April 29, Noon ET
Where: Philadelphia, PA
TV: NFL Network, ESPN
Time per pick: Rounds 4-6: 5 minutes; Round 7: 4 minutes
Estimated time of Lions picks:
- Pick 215 overall: 5:15 p.m. ET
- Pick 250 overall: 6:30 p.m. ET
Grade the Lions’ choice at 205th overall
This poll is closed