Could the Detroit Lions draft a first round offensive lineman?

Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

As the Detroit Lions continue to sign players to bolster their roster ahead of the draft, could they be eyeing another offensive tackle in the first round?

A couple of weeks into free agency and the Detroit Lions have made a sizable impact on their roster with big signings like defensive end Trey Flowers. They are filling holes at positions of need and setting themselves up very well for the NFL draft in April. But what position will they draft with the 8th overall selection?

It’s a question we won’t find out the answer to for a few more weeks, but plenty of speculation is drummed up during this time of the year. The draft seems to have a plethora of defensive difference makers available in the top 10 picks. But how would the Lions faithful feel about looking to the other side of the ball to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford?

Two things have transpired to make this a possibility. First, Lions general manager Bob Quinn hasn’t made a decision on starting left tackle Taylor Decker‘s fifth-year option which would keep him on the team through the 2020 season. Quinn told’s Kyle Meinke that’s something they’ll decide after the draft.

Meinke goes on to say Quinn’s history shows he waits until after the draft to exercise those fifth-year options. Is it to keep his cards close to his chest before the draft? Or is it to keep his options open to move on from the player depending on how the draft board falls?

The second thing that has happened regards a pro day visit to Alabama where Quinn watched top-ranked tackle Jonah Williams work out. While Williams played right tackle in college and could very well slide into a guard position at the next level, it isn’t very common for guards to be selected in the top 10 of the draft unless they are off-the-chart beasts. In fact, only four guards have been selected in the first round since 2010.

If Quinn is looking at Williams for the 8th overall pick, it should be for the tackle position – possibly with eyes on moving him to the left side. And if Williams falls to the 8th pick and Quinn has him rated higher than other defensive players, Decker’s fifth-year option might no longer be on the table.

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This may be a stretch, but connecting these dots means it shouldn’t be a surprise if the cards fall this way in a few weeks during the draft. While Detroit could use a replacement for departed T.J. Lang, a top 10 draft pick would be a reach considering the talent available on the other side of the ball in this year’s draft.