The most important development in the coming weeks for Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz of the Lions isn’t the rookies they drafted last month. It will be two players they selected three years ago in the middle and back end of the NFL draft. Willie Young was a seventh-round pick. Jason Fox went in the fourth round. They’ll get every opportunity to significantly contribute this season considering the massive losses on the offensive and defensive lines. If they don’t adequately seize the chance that’s dropped into their laps, what does that say about Mayhew’s ability in identifying raw talent in the later rounds and Schwartz’s ability in refining that crude athleticism into a serviceable player? It would serve as one of the stronger indictments against keeping Mayhew and Schwartz around next season. Young and Fox say they’re ready to battle. “It’s a more honest opportunity,” Young said Wednesday. “I’m definitely taking nothing for granted. But it will probably be more of an honest opportunity with the two starters gone from last year’s defensive line. It’s going to be interesting.” Defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch are gone. Avril left through free agency; Vanden Bosch got cut. At least Young was healthy enough to compete for playing time the past two years. Fox finally is healthy for a full 12 months. He has fought knee and foot injuries since the Lions drafted him out of Miami. “It’s nice to finish a practice without immediately having to go to physical therapy,” the offensive tackle said. With Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus gone via free agency, the Lions are looking at two new starting tackles. Their failure to get a left tackle with the fifth overall selection last month pretty much resigns them to fitting second-year man Riley Reiff at left tackle and a competition between Fox and Corey Hilliard for starting right tackle. “It’s a great feeling, and I’m excited about it,” Fox said about the opportunity before him. The Lions took the practice field Wednesday. But in this new NFL collective bargaining agreement environment, OTA stands for “Only Talking About” football. It’s really nothing more than a relaxed walk-through. The drills are strictly technical. There’s no contact, no opportunity to get at least a minimal sense of a young player’s drive to inject as much physical havoc as possible. The new guys are clueless. The veterans are casual. This new version of OTAs are intended to keep players fresher, but in actuality, it’s basically another artfully crafted PR move from the NFL to keep its product as relevant as possible in the off-season. “It’s about technique, communication and consistency,” Schwartz said Wednesday, over and over again. It’s probably frustrating for the coaches, especially for someone as much under the microscope as Schwartz. I’m sure he wants to see as quickly as possible what he might have. But Schwartz can only trust that specific players see the possibilities for starting opportunities once training camp begins in another two months and are taking the initiative to prove that they’re not simply the best of what’s available. Young rejected the notion that it will be easier for him to get more playing time with Avril and Vanden Bosch gone. But would it be a fairer competition in Young’s mind to get those additional snaps now with them gone? “You can say that,” he said. “It’s probably safe to say that.”