After several offseason moves, the Detroit Lions now turn their focus on the upcoming draft. And one insider believes their hunting for a starting guard.
This offseason, the Detroit Lions decided to move on from several of their veterans. And coming off a disappointing 3-12-1 season, a certain level of roster turnover is to be expected. One area where the Lions decided to make some major changes is along their offensive line.
Last month, the Lions opted to release starting right tackle Ricky Wagner. The 30-year old veteran started 30 games over the past three seasons in the Motor City. He was originally signed to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with Detroit back in 2017. Wagner would end up signing with the Green Bay Packers three days after his release.
The Lions also lost their starting right guard from last season when they allowed Graham Glasgow to test free agency. The versatile interior offensive lineman was expected to garner top dollar on the open market, and Detroit clearly didn’t want to overpay for his services. Glasgow ended up agreeing to a four-year, $44 million deal with the Denver Broncos.
Those losses decimated the entire right side of the Lions’ offensive line. And that was by design. Detroit is looking to upgrade their O-line and started that process in free agency. The Lions acquired former Philadelphia Eagles reserve offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a massive five-year, $50 million contract. Also known as Big V, the 26-year old Vaitai is expected to fill the void at right tackle left by Wagner.
A plethora of names have been suggested as possible replacements for Glasgow at right guard. Those names include second-year guard Beau Benzschawel, former 2018 firth-rounder Tyrell Crosby, and the recently re-signed Oday Aboushi.
But one Lions’ insider believes the team will be hunting for a starting guard in the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s how Kyle Meinke of MLive.com responded to a recent mailbag question about the Lions addressing their offensive line needs in the upcoming selection event.
"“People I’ve talked to expect the Lions to find their starting guard in the early-middle rounds of the draft. I don’t know who they’re targeting or what they’re even looking for after letting a guy like Graham Glasgow just walk out the door. Besides cheap. They want a guard who is nice and cheap. And the best way to find a quality cheap player is in the draft.”"
The release of Rick Wagner last month and the subsequent addition of Halapoulivaati Vaitai for nearly the same contract allowed the Detroit Lions to get much younger at the position. Electing not to re-sign Graham Glasgow sent a clear message that the Lions believe they can get near-equal production from a much cheaper option. So Detroit using one of their nine draft selections on an offensive lineman appears to be a lock.