Three years ago Bob Quinn began his reign as the Lions general manager by selecting Ohio State tackle, Taylor Decker. When asked about the pick, Quinn spoke about the importance of building in the trenches. On both sides of the ball. That same draft brought Michigan guard/center Graham Glasgow to town as well.
Last offseason when Matt Patricia was welcomed into the fold, he told the media how he and Quinn would build this team from the ball out. Then they again used their first-round pick on an offensive lineman when they selected Frank Ragnow out of Arkansas. Later in the fourth round, they selected defensive linemen, Da’Shawn Hand from Alabama.
Both were very productive and proved to be outstanding picks.
Now as we watch the glare of free agency rushing at us, the Lions needs have re-shuffled themselves again. Not that they have developed new needs because they already wanted to find someone to push T.J. Lang for playing time, but now that the Lions have parted ways with their former starting right guard, the urgency to find help on the offensive line has just risen.
Meanwhile, the need to find an edge-rusher is still very prevalent as well to help a sporadic pass rush generate more consistent pressure on opposing passers.
In a word, the line of scrimmage, as a whole is now at the top of the need chart. Sure the needs for a tight end, cornerback and receiver haven’t decreased at all, but if we go back to the mission statements of both Quinn and Patricia, the importance of line play makes this the odds on favorite to head the Lions war room needs list.
From the dawn of time or at least the advent of football, controlling the line of scrimmage has been the key to victory. It is the key element that allows an offense to function. You can’t run or pass without the big boys up front doing their job to open holes for the backs or giving the quarterback time to throw the ball.
Meanwhile, the defensive front seven are charged with shutting down the running lanes and harassing the passer. Plain and simple the defensive line is the fulcrum of the defense. It is the bedrock upon which great defense is built.
More often than not, at the conclusion of a game, the winner is the team that controlled that little strip of land called the line of scrimmage. While the loser was unable to consistently exert their will on their opponent.