NFL Combine 2013: Lions GM will pay close attention to 40-yard dash times

USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is going to pay close attention to the 40-yard dash times on Tuesday, when college football's best defensive backs participate in the combine drills.

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is a fan of speed -- especially when it pertains to defensive backs. According to the Detroit Free Press, Mayhew will pay close attention to the 40-yard dash times put up by college football's best defensive backs on Tuesday.

"Guys that run sub-4.5 I would say are fast," Mayhew said. "And then guys that run slower than that have to have something else going for them."

Per the Free Press, Detroit drafted three cornerbacks in the middle rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft, and all three ran 40-yard dash times of 4.5 or better.

More: Pride of Detroit

Though speed isn't everything when it comes to a cornerback, NFL coaches and scouts like to see defensive backs with excellent speed. If a defensive back is lacking in speed, he can make up for it in size -- as Mayhew alluded to.

Mayhew conceded that bigger defensive backs who are are slower still have a place in the NFL -- but that the Lions remain interested in speedy defensive backs.

"I think if you're bigger, I think there may be a little bit of wiggle room in terms of your actual time," Mayhew said. "It depends on how you're going to play a guy, too. If you want to play a Cover 2 scheme or play a lot of press-man you've got a guy with some length that can disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage, that helps. But we like fast guys."

In our latest mock draft at SB Nation, the Lions are projected to select defensive end Ezekial Ansah from BYU.

If true, then Mayhew will have to draft his speedy corners in the later rounds of the draft -- just as he did last year.

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