Expect competition, if not a full change, at center
On the heels of Notre Dame’s pro day and the Geoff Schwartz signing, much of the fan base still clamors for more offensive line help. The large Detroit contingency in South Bend got to check out two potential Lions in Ronnie Stanley and Nick Martin.
Martin is a center, and he’s the more intriguing–and likely–prospect. A nasty knee injury in his sophomore year has limited his range, but he’s a street fighter with strong blocking technique and savvy inside. He is definitely in play in the second round.
As with defensive line, the Lions have been kicking the tires on several later-round centers too. Detroit staffers have been at workouts or pro days for many, including Joey Hunt from TCU, Siaosi Aiono from Utah, Nick Beamish from Central Michigan, Austin Blythe from Iowa and Michigan State’s Jack Allen.
Of that group, Allen is pretty handily the most NFL-ready. He is likely a fourth or fifth-round pick. Blythe and Aiono are likely sixth or seventh rounders.
While I have not heard anything from any Lions folks themselves, the word on the NFL street is they are looking to upgrade the center position and view it as a major priority. Travis Swanson will get a chance to prove he can be the upgrade if he’s healthy, but there will be competition. Martin in the second would not surprise me, but keep in mind Quinn comes from the Patriots. New England has not drafted a center above the fourth round since taking Logan Mankins in 2005, but has loaded up on fourth and sixth round picks to fill holes. This is just my guess, but I think that’s the way the Lions attack center this year.