Left tackle is often ranked as the second most important position in football, due to the player there protecting the blind side of what are mostly right-handed quarterbacks.
Taylor Decker is that person for the Detroit Lions. Much of the Lions success will mirror his performance. Decker missed eight games last season; he must be healthy and perform better in 2018.
His rookie year he rated an 82.3 from PFF, dropping to 60.5 in 2017; Decker was coming off a shoulder injury and surgery, though. Decker is back, has fully participated in all mini-camps and hopefully gets back to his “above average” status or better in year three.
Rick Wagner, the right tackle, is the other bookend. Wagner, too, missed three games during a forgettable 2017 for the line. Wagner graded out above average with an 81.9 PFF rating. The 2017 campaign was his first in Detroit, previously he played with the Baltimore Ravens.
If both of those men can play near the top of their game, the line could be in really good shape.
Depth is critical, if for no other reason than insurance against a repeat of last season. Robinson, Dahl, Crosby, Mihalik, and Skipper are all vying for backup spots. I hope Crosby can play outside, at tackle, and provide depth for multiple spots.
Big picture, the Detroit Lions look to have added talent, and kept some performing players. The Lions will likely keep about nine players along the offensive line. The unit as a whole needed to upgrade backups, and fill one starter position. Done. If they feel unsure, or if more than nine guys look great, I wouldn’t put it past general manager, Bob Quinn, to keep ten, either.
I would guess: Decker, Wagner, Ragnow, Lang, Glasgow, Dahl, Crosby, Mihalik, and either Skipper or Robinson are on the 53-man roster. Training camp and preseason could easily change the last two or three names on the keeper list, though.
I also wouldn’t rule out another veteran tackle being signed to give depth in case Taylor Decker isn’t performing. We shall see.
What do you think? Who stays? Who goes? Did the Lions do enough to upgrade or fix the line issues?Comments are below, you know what to do.
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