Position 2: Left Tackle
With incumbent left tackle Taylor Decker out for most of the season due to shoulder surgery, the Lions are looking to fill the position with retreads—though highly drafted ones—Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio.
In spite of their pedigree and draft status, both have struggled at the pro level for various reasons. Robinson was brought in via trade from the now-Los Angeles Rams. And Kouandjio was signed as a free agent after getting cut by the Buffalo Bills.
Going from a proven commodity to two guys whose teams found them expendable opens the door to lots of trouble up front.
Best Case: Robinson finally begins to play up to his draft position
Perhaps a change of scenery allows Robinson to blossom, and he becomes the dominant player the Rams thought they were getting when they took him with the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He stonewalls pass rushers at a high level, and clears holes for the Lions backs consistently.
Robinson is considered for the Pro Bowl by the end of the year, which only happens when left tackles keep their quarterbacks off their rear ends. If Stafford has time, he will dominate. And so will the Lions, who wind up winning the NFC North.
Worst Case: Neither player locks down the job
Robinson wins the job because of his contract instead of merit, but plays so poorly that Kouandjio spells him regularly. This takes away any continuity up front. Stafford runs for his life frequently, as the revolving door at left tackle opens for pass rushers.
The Lions have to put an extra tight end in to block on every down, keeping weapons off the field. This hamstrings the offense at key moments. The defense isn’t great to keep every game low-scoring and the Lions miss the playoffs.