Today we take a look at how the Detroit Lions Dominic Raiola performed during the 2013 season with a little help from the fine folks at Pro Football Focus.
The radar chart below shows the Pro Football Focus grades for Raiola and compares him to the best, worst and league average ratings for players who played at least 25% of team snaps. PFF grades each player on each play to produce a massively useful tool for evaluating the totality of a player’s season compared to others at his position.
2013 Season Review
Dominic Raiola reported to training camp having bulked up over the offseason and it certainly paid off. Not only did Raiola hold up better as a run blocker, he was one of the few Lions who played well down the stretch. In four of the Lions last five games, Raiola got a solidly positive rating from PFF. In the one that wasn’t, he was modestly on the positive side at +0.6.
Martin Mayhew was pointed in his criticism of pressure allowed by the interior offensive line during the 2012 season. Raiola’s play was part of the solution to that problem as Dom didn’t allow a sack all season and went without allowing a hit or hurry of the quarterback in 10 of 16 games. Only twice was he responsible for allowing more than one hit or hurry in a game.
The revamped offensive line was solid in 2013, and its most-veteran member was a big contributor in earning that stamp of approval.
The Lions are already a step down the road having re-signed Raiola to a new one-year contract. Coming off perhaps the best season of his career and a price tag of just $1.5 million, the Lions couldn’t have done any better.
Now, that doesn’t mean they can put the center plan on the shelf for a year. Known as a cerebral center, it would be wise to make sure the center of the future and Raiola overlap for at least a year. It would be a missed opportunity to not provide a learning year in which some of Raiola’s smarts could rub off before a new body is throw into the heat of battle.