Notebook: Lions’ plans could include ex-Buckeye

INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Adams won’t feel like an outsider or feel any pangs of mixed loyalty if he winds up with the Detroit Lions through the luck of the NFL Draft in April.

Adams is in the top handful of offensive tackles, and that’s a position that could be on the Lions’ radar screen under some circumstances.

Adams has size. He checked in at 6-foot-7, 323 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He has a college resume and pedigree. He was a full-time starter his last two seasons at Ohio State. Some of the NFL’s best young tackles have come from Big Ten teams.

Joe Thomas of Wisconsin was drafted third overall by the Browns in 2007, and Jake Long of Michigan went first overall to the Miami Dolphins in ’08. Both have been Pro Bowl players.

The Lions have the 23rd pick in the first round, which is in the vicinity of where most draft analysts rate Adams.

Matt Kalil of USC, Riley Reiff of Iowa State and Jonathan Martin of Stanford are the top three tackles.

Cordy Glenn of Georgia, who plays guard and tackle, also is a possibility.

Winding up in Detroit — 40-some miles east of where Ohio State’s biggest rival, the University of Michigan is located — would be fine with Adams.

“Whatever team I go to, it’s a blessing,” Adams said Thursday in an interview with the media. “To have an opportunity to be drafted is something I can’t put into words.

“No matter where I go, I’d be just fine.”

Adams made a wry joke when asked about the disappointing end to his Ohio State career. A 40-34 loss to Michigan in the Buckeyes’ last regular-season game in 2011 ended their four-game winning streak over Michigan.

“I’ve got three pair of gold pants from beating them,” he said, referring to the small pins given to Ohio State players for beating Michigan. “I’ll be OK, I guess.”

Offensive tackle isn’t likely to be the Lions’ priority for the first round on April 26, but things could change depending on how they fill needs in free-agency.

A lot depends on who they sign, retain or lose in the free-agent signing period that begins March 13. Cornerback and linebacker are more pressing needs, and defensive end could be a priority if Cliff Avril does not re-sign with the Lions.

Adams had a memorable senior season in 2011, and a lot of the memories are ones he would like to forget.

Adams was one of five Buckeyes who were suspended for the first five games of the season for taking improper benefits in violating of NCAA rules. Head coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign before the season.

Adams will be asked about character issues by NFL teams. Some will concern the conduct that resulted in the suspension. In 2009, he was arrested for running a stop sign and for having drug paraphernalia.

He paid a fine for the traffic violation. The other charge was dropped when there was a negative test for drugs and police agreed that the pipe was not intended to be used for smoking marijuana.
 
Avril in March

Questions continue about the status of defensive end Cliff Avril, who will become an unrestricted free agent on March 13 unless the Lions re-sign him.

They also can apply the franchise-player tag, which must be done by March 5. That would limit Avril’s ability to get offers from other teams because of the compensation involved in the form of draft picks.

“Cliff’s very important for us,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s young. He fits the scheme. He was durable this year.

“When you have guys who are young, guys that you can continue to build with, they’re very important to us. Cliff’s very important to us.”

Schwartz also spoke highly of offensive left tackle Jeff Backus and middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch when asked specifically about the two players.
 
Injury update

Except for the status of running back Jahvid Best, who missed the last 10 games because of concussion symptoms, the Lions do not have any long-term injury concerns, Schwartz said.

The only “caveat,” in Schwartz’s words, is Best’s recovery from the concussion. There is no wiggle room in allowing a concussed player to return to workouts and drills.

Running back Mikel Leshoure, who missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles, defensive tackle Nick Fairley (left foot) and Backus (torn right biceps) are among the players Schwartz expects to be fully healthy for training camp.

“We should have quite a talent influx just from getting guys like that back,” Schwartz said.
 
Outsider’s view of Lions

A competing general manager for an NFC team was asked to assess the Lions of 2011 compared to the worst teams of their Lost Decade.

The GM cited the obvious — quarterback Matthew Stafford’s play. But it does deeper than that.

“It’s personnel,” he said. “I’ve got all the respect for Martin Mayhew. And Schwartz gives them an energy level.”