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Lions host possible first-round DT Phillips

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Jordan Phillips

Following the departure of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in free agency, it would be surprising if the Lions don't take a defensive tackle early in the draft next month, even with general manager Martin Mayhew's "best player available" policy.

On Tuesday, the Lions hosted one interior player -- Oklahoma's Jordan Phillips -- they could consider in the first or second round of the draft.

The 6-foot-5, 329-pound Phillips entered the NFL draft after playing just two full seasons for the Sooners, redshirting in 2011 and playing four games before a back injury in 2013.

In 2014, Phillips had 39 tackles, seven for loss and two sacks, and he's considered to have among the most upside of a defensive tackle in the draft. At the combine, he had a 30-inch vertical jump and a 105-inch broad jump, both impressive for someone his size.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock ranks Phillips tied for fifth among interior defensive linemen in the draft, behind USC's Leonard Williams, Washington's Danny Shelton, Texas' Malcom Brown, Oregon's Arik Armstead and tied with Florida State's Eddie Goldman.

Daniel Jeremiah, also of NFL Network ranks Phillips No. 42 on his Top 50 list, but many people think Phillips could be a first-round pick. The Lions have the No. 23 overall pick.

To help replace Suh and Fairley, the Lions traded for Haloti Ngata from the Ravens and signed free agent Tyrunn Walker. C.J. Mosley and Andre Fluellen are both free agents, so the Lions currently don't have any of their top four tackles from 2014. They'll likely sign a veteran and draft a defensive tackle who can contribute early in his career.

The Lions hosted former Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson, another position of need looking ahead to the draft. He's 5-foot-10, 197 pounds and ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He also participated in the Senior Bowl.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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