Dec 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola (51) before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
3. Does Dominic Raiola Finally Hang Up The Cleats?
After his 13th NFL season, it’s clear the center isn’t getting any younger. Despite grabbing his share of unfortunate headlines, Raiola still played at an elite level for Detroit in 2014, stabilizing the middle of the line. The Lions also worked his eventual replacement Travis Swanson into the fray without incident.
If Raiola decides to retire, that could have a significant impact on who the Lions decide to target in the draft. It could tip the scales for an offensive lineman fairly early. Should Raiola stay for one more season, Swanson could continue to essentially learn on the job, which could be a major advantage going forward and make the line less of an immediate draft priority.
For Raiola, the decision will likely come down to his feelings on Detroit’s chances as a serious contender in 2015. It’s tough to imagine him playing much longer and risking his health, but clearly, the center has been one of Detroit’s most durable and dependable starters, making anything possible.
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