ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions played out plenty of draft possibilities, and never really considered Southern California receiver Mike Williams among them.

Yet when it was the Lions' turn to make their selection in the first round of the NFL draft on Saturday, they followed a familiar pattern by picking Williams 10th overall, the third straight year Detroit chose a receiver.

"We ran a lot of scenarios and in all of those scenarios, we didn't believe that Mike Williams would be sitting there," Lions CEO Matt Millen said. "There are a lot of ways to help an offense and a defense. Scoring points is one of them. Mike Williams does that very well."

Williams caught 176 passes for 2,579 yards and 30 touchdowns in two years at USC, but hasn't played in more than a year. He was forced to sit out last season after the original court decision in Maurice Clarett's case against the NFL was overturned and the league was allowed to keep players from entering the draft until they were three years removed from high school.

Then, Williams was not allowed to return to school because the NCAA wouldn't restore his eligibility.

In 2003, Detroit picked Charles Rogers, and last year they selected Roy Williams. Rogers' seasons have been cut short by injuries.

Mike Williams, who will wear No. 88 next season, said he is not looking to replace anyone, just fit in where he can.

"I'm just excited to be a part of that receiving group," he said. "They have some big guys that can stretch the field and do their thing. I'm just excited to go up there and identify what I can bring to this offense."

Coach Steve Mariucci said the door is wide open on where Williams will line up — inside or out.

"The thing about him is that he can do both," Mariucci said. "He loves playing inside because he's big and physical, and he doesn't mind releasing off linebackers and working in holes and taking a hit. But he's good enough to play outside as well."

The 6-foot-5 receiver didn't know where he would end up after Tennessee and Washington took cornerbacks Adam "Pacman" Jones of West Virginia and Auburn's Carlos Rogers, respectively. He said no promises were made.

"Being a top-10 pick after not playing for a year is a blessing. That's something that no one thought would happen," Williams said. "I could care less about what teams didn't draft me. What's important is the team that did draft me."

The Lions liked their options heading into the draft. They have needs, but they are not so desperate that they had to take a player because of the position he plays rather than his talent. They had the luxury of trading up or down, or sticking with the 10th pick.

"We made the appropriate calls and we had stuff set up before, and then we actually waited a little bit and nothing happened," Millen said.

The Lions aren't forgetting about the defensive side of the ball, and will likely address those needs in the later rounds of the draft.