Detroit Lions offensive line
Since 2009 when the Lions took Matthew Stafford number one, the Lions are not likely to be in the market for a quarterback in Round 1. However, as is often the case, how many quarterbacks get taken affects the value of the Lions pick and who is still available.
At this juncture, Dwayne Haskins is believed to be getting ready to forego his remaining eligibility and enter the draft. The Ohio State product, who threw 50 touchdowns this season, is likely to occupy one of the picks before the Lions go on the clock. That’s good news for anyone who supports Stafford’s return under center.
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Greg Little, OT, Mississippi, 6-5, 325, 5.23
Above we mentioned the offensive line, right? Yes. The unit suffered through another string of injuries, had to break in a rookie, Frank Ragnow, at guard and still has not found stability. The Lions general manager, Bob Quinn, has thrown a lot of money at the problem signing T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner to lucrative free-agent deals, Spotrac has the details.
Little could replace Rick Wagner at right tackle (and his $12 million dollar salary) after next year, and play right guard in 2019, replacing Lang’s almost identical cap hit. The difference is that Wagner’s large, unpaid guaranteed money will make him too expensive to cut until after 2019.
Greg Little is an All-SEC left tackle and second-team All-American who would give the Lions some talent, youth, cap relief, and freedom to find his best NFL position. Current left tackle, Taylor Decker, has not been an ideal fit at left tackle, Little also might allow Decker to switch to his more natural position, right tackle.
Why it wouldn’t be popular
Fans may not be a fan of this selection for several reasons. First, fatigue. It seems like this is an every year discussion dating back for decades. Quinn has paid top dollar for Wagner and Lang, spent two Round 1 picks and a Round 3 pick already to address the line and to block for Stafford.
Secondly, there are some that would opt to draft a quarterback instead of helping the current one. As stated, the Lions have a starting five that looks good on paper. They also have a promising backup tackle in rookie Tyrell Crosby.
When healthy, the group is capable as this year’s improved 23rd ranked rushing attack can attest.
*For the first time in recent memory, the Lions averaged more than 100 yards per game and four yards per attempt running the ball.
Lastly, the perceived needs of the team would seem to preclude drafting another lineman. It also may seem like Little may have to settle for being a backup for a year, not a normal occurrence for a top 10 selection. However, given Lang’s concussion problems, the health of the unit, and the cap situation, Little could offer a long-term solution.