The Lions went into this draft with a very specific goal — they were looking to get players on both sides of the ball who were bigger and faster, and, as it turned out, longer.

"One of our goals coming in was to get bigger and to get more athletic, and I think we did that," general manager Martin Mayhew said. "As I talked about it before, the NFC North, you're talking about going and playing at Chicago, playing at Green Bay, playing Minnesota with their running game. So, it's just an area that really showed up a little bit over the last couple years where we need to make some improvement."

In the first round, the Lions took defensive end Ziggy Ansah from BYU, who is 6-5, 270 pounds, with 4.6 speed and a 35-inch arm span. They took a big, press corner with 4.34 speed in the second round, Darius Slay from Mississippi State.

They took massive (6-3, 333) offensive guard Larry Warford in the third round.

And the trend continued Saturday when they drafted South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor in the fourth round. Taylor goes 6-7, 276 pounds with 4.72 speed and 36-inch arms.

"That was by design," Mayhew said. "We talked about that with our coaching staff and spoke at length with some of our guys about those guys being able to make more plays. Actually, I think Gun (defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham) did a study on that, on sacks and arm length and height.

"So, it was something that we were kind of focused on. I'm not saying we wouldn't have taken a guy who wasn't 6-7, but we like what those guys bring to the table."

The Lions saw first-hand what long, athletic pass rushers can do last season playing against the likes of Aldon Smith, J.J. Watt, Julius Peppers and others.

"Well, bigger, better, stronger, better, faster, better," coach Jim Schwartz said. "That's no secret. You always want to do that. When you have opportunities, you need to be able to take advantage of them. Not that smaller guys can't be productive, not that guys that don't time well can't be productive, but when you can combine both of them, I think you're definitely going to take advantage of that.

"We've seen a couple real tall guys affect the passer against us. So, I think that dynamic played into it also. I think it also matches well with some of the other players that we already have on the roster, particularly, our two defensive tackles."

Taylor, like Ansah, is a physical marvel. His total wing span is 87 inches and he has a 35-inch vertical jump. Schwartz said he can play both left end and right end.

"This is a guy that was a state triple jump champ in South Carolina and for a defensive end, that's pretty rare," he said. "He got on the field pretty early (as a freshman) with South Carolina. He's had a good productive career and like Martin said, he's kind of saved his best for last. He played really well at the East-West Shrine game against good competition."

He played opposite of South Carolina phenom Jadeveon Clowney the last two years and still produced 82 tackles, nine sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and seven batted passes.

"Actually, both of us were literally double-teamed in shifts almost every snap," Taylor said. "They never really gave either one of us that many one-on-one opportunities getting back to the quarterback a lot of times.

"I never really had a problem with being the other guy on the other side. It never changed the way I played or anything. If anything, it just made me want to work harder."

The other constant in this draft was that the Lions, maybe more than the past couple of years, were able to address needs. They took two defensive ends, an interior offensive lineman and a cornerback early.

Then, on Saturday, traded down 28 spots in the fifth round and got punter Sam Martin from Appalachian State, took a developmental outside receiver Corey Fuller (6-2, 204, 4.4 speed) with the first of two sixth-round picks (171), a running back-returner Theo Riddick from Notre Dame with the second (199) and Alabama tight end Michael Williams with pick 211 in the seventh round.

With their final pick (245), they took Florida A&M inside linebacker Brandon Hepburn, who projects to be a special-teams contributor.