Detroit Lions Positional Analysis: How to Improve the Offensive Line

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Alex Mack, C and Taylor Decker, LT (Ohio State)

Nov 1, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack (55) and guard Joel Bitonio (75) sit on the bench during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cardinals won 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Assuming that Alex Mack opts out of his contract with Cleveland, he is essentially the only center free agent who seems to be worth investing in as an improvement over Travis Swanson. His pedigree with the Browns is strong, but would he want to come to Detroit, a team with nearly an equally miserable recent history? Mack would add sorely needed experience to the interior and the balance that I have been stressing as necessary between pass protection and run blocking. Signing Mack would leave Detroit looking at a left tackle early in the draft.

Nov 21, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Taylor Decker (68) blocks against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With top tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley probably off the board when the Lions pick, the next best one that is still worth a pick in the middle of the first round is Ohio State’s Taylor Decker. Lacking polish in pass protection somewhat, Decker has the prototypical frame and athleticism necessary to develop into a top left tackle in the NFL. I think he would be just as good as Riley Reiff to start out with potential to develop to a Jared Veldheer caliber of left tackle who is one of the best in both the pass and run.

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