Detroit Lions Positional Analysis: How to Improve the Offensive Line

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Cordy Glenn, LT (Buffalo) and Siaosi Aiono, C (Utah)

Sep 20, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills tackle Cordy Glenn (77) and New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Likely the highest priced free agent signing at left tackle would be Cordy Glenn. Just 26 years old and one of the top 5 left tackles in the league in 2015 per (PFF), Glenn embodies the kind of improvement in pass protection that the Lions need out of the left tackle spot after Riley Reiff’s abysmal performance in 2015. Glenn is ranked top 3 in the pass department per PFF and would likely continue that as the Lions look to mold their protection scheme to suit the talent they have. However, Glenn has been merely above average in the run game this year among left tackles.

Nov 14, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; Utah Utes offensive lineman Siaosi Aiono (60) prepares to snap the ball during the third quarter against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Arizona won 37-30 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

To counterbalance the heavy investment in Glenn and his adequate performance in the run game, the Lions could look to draft Utah center Siaosi Aiono in rounds 6-7 of the draft. Aiono is a big-bodied mauler who provides a definite upgrade in the run game over Travis Swanson and appears to be adequate in pass protection. I had Swanson graded only in the late 6th round coming out of school and wasn’t happy the Lions reached for him. Aiono appears to be a higher grade player in my eyes, but is projected to be available in the 6th or 7th rounds, which would be worthy of one of the Lions’ projected 11 picks in April.

Side note, this is also my preferred solution. Signing a premier left tackle and drafting a center in the mid-late rounds to push Swanson to improve his strength and knowledge of the playbook or possibly overtake him entirely is the approach I will use in future articles as I look to total team improvement towards winning.

Next: Russell Okung and Evan Boehm