Lions sign third-round center Travis Swanson

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The Lions brought center Dominic Raiola back for another season, but he’s turning 36 in December and the team’s going to need another option for the future.

They gave themselves one by drafting center Travis Swanson in the third round earlier this month. The Lions announced Thursday that Swanson has signed his four-year rookie contract with the team.

Swanson started 50 games at Arkansas and was named an All-American in 2013. He didn’t do very well at the combine, but Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew emphasized Swanson’s time on the field when discussing the pick.

“He’s got a lot of starts against really good competition,” Mayhew said, via the team’s website. “That usually bodes well for guys early, gives those guys confidence when they get here, so that’s definitely a factor.”

With Swanson signed, the Lions’ list of unsigned picks is down to first-round tight end Eric Ebron and second-round linebacker Kyle Van Noy.