With the 13th selection in the 2011 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions will address a need with a very good player. Tyron Smith is an offensive tackle who can play both sides but played right tackle at USC. It is notable that he played on the right side when looking at the offensive line situation for the Lions.
Tyron Smith came into the combine as a younger tackle prospect. Several experts call Smith the No. 1 tackle prospect in the entire draft and that represents value at pick 13. You want to start the run at a certain position, not finish it. Those same experts say that Smith has the most upside of any tackle in this draft class. If the Lions do select Smith it will tell us a few things.
It tells us that the situation with Gosder Cherilus is up in the air. Micro-fracture surgery is a relative unknown and no one knows what his health will be when the 2011 season (if there is one) begins. I think we can all agree that the protection of Matt Stafford is as big a priority as there is for the Lions entering 2011. If Cherilus can’t play with the knee problem they will need a right tackle immediately.
It also tells us that the Lions are thinking about their offensive line going forward. Jeff Backus is entering his 11th season and as much as people dislike him in this city his ability to stay healthy has been amazing. The Lions are going to need to replace Backus at some point.
The combination of needing a right tackle immediately and grooming a future book end left tackle makes the selection of Tyron Smith almost a no-brainer as it makes sense in so many ways. It would definitely be a safe pick given the needs on their offensive line.