Lions take Auburn-ex Gabe Wright in 4th round for step toward filling void of Suh's departure

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ALLEN PARK, Michigan — Gabe Wright wore No. 90 in college, and he'd be happy to keep it when he joins the Detroit Lions.

"I wouldn't mind that at all," he said.

No pressure, Gabe.

That number, of course, was vacated when Ndamukong Suh left the Lions in free agency, and they've spent this offseason trying to restock their defensive line following that big departure. Drafting Wright in the fourth round Saturday was another step.

"I like the fact he has a quick first step," Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. "He is very strong and powerful. He has good hands and can disengage then get off and finish."

Detroit later took Rutgers fullback Michael Burton in the fifth round, Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs in the sixth and South Carolina tackle Corey Robinson in the seventh.

As much as Lions general manager Martin Mayhew talks about taking the best player available, this year Detroit ended up with picks that fit the widespread perception of a team's positional needs. The Lions took two offensive linemen, two running backs, two cornerbacks and a defensive tackle.

It was the first time since 2006 that Detroit did not take at least one wide receiver.

The Lions lost defensive tackles Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason, but they traded for defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. After drafting offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson, running back Ameer Abdullah and cornerback Alex Carter in the first three rounds, they traded a third-round pick in 2016 to Philadelphia for a fourth-rounder this year.

The 6-foot-3, 284-pound Wright was the choice — and this defensive tackle comes from Auburn, the same place Fairley played before reaching the NFL.

"We really like Gabe. He is a really hard competitor," Austin said. "He played a lot of football from the SEC. He falls in the mold in what we like our defensive tackles to do and that is to penetrate, attack, get off blocks and make plays. He did a really good job of those things."

Wright was an honorable mention player on the AP's All-Southeastern Conference team in 2013 and 2014, although he had only one sack as a senior.

"I feel like once in a while in a man's life he needs a piece of humble pie," Wright said. "My senior year was definitely humbling to me."

Burton never had more than 10 carries in a season at Rutgers, but he did catch 47 passes in his college career, including three touchdowns.

"Fullbacks, some people call them a dying breed, but they're tough guys and I know that we've had a good history of fullbacks here, so we like his toughness," offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. "It's a strong guy, smart player, tough, everything you want in a fullback."

Diggs is the brother of Quentin Jammer, a former Texas defensive back who played in the NFL from 2002-2013.

"He is probably the most impactful person of my whole deal with football," Diggs said. "He is always there for me. I talk to him every day. That is my role model. I love my brother. He was the first one to give me a hug today when I got that call."

The 6-foot-8 Robinson started every game in 2014 for the Gamecocks. Detroit started and finished its draft with offensive lineman, part of an effort to improve a unit that struggled last season.

"It was a long wait," Robinson said. "I am just glad my family was around me to keep me up. Once I got that call, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. A lot of tension just let go. I am glad Detroit gave me this opportunity."


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