Liam Eichenberg, OT – Notre Dame
Looking at the current Lions roster, the offensive line is probably the strongest position group. There is arguably a top three center, a top 10 tackle, and a promising young guard. However, the right side of the line is still a work in progress.
Lions’ offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai didn’t bring much confidence to those who questioned the five-year, $45 million contract he was handed last offseason. And even still, there are questions as to whether he is better off inside than out at right tackle. So this year’s offensive tackle class is definitely of interest to the Lions.
Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood is probably the biggest name and there’s a chance he is still available in the second round, but I think it’s likely he ends up going in the first. Another name Lions’ fans should keep their eyes on is Liam Eichenberg from Notre Dame.
Eichenberg is an imposing presence on the outside. At 6-foot-6, he certainly looks the part of an NFL tackle. And he plays like Dan Campbell talks. Physical. Watch him (No. 74) get to the second level versus Clemson and create a huge hole for a long touchdown run below.
If you enjoyed watching the highlights of Lions’ guard Logan Stenberg last year, here’s a prospect who has that same mentality but with a lot more polish and talent too. Eichenberg’s a bully in the run game but has the required mobility to get to the second level if needed. He definitely fits the mold for what this new iteration of the Lions is expected to be.
Eichenberg’s pass sets aren’t quite as strong, and this week will be a big test for him. I’m most excited to see how he handles a really strong defensive line group in one-on-ones. It will also be interesting to see his reps playing on the right side and see how he adjusts, given he’s a three-year starter on the left side.
Starting tackle Taylor Decker has been superb on the left for the Lions, and you’d think (read: hope) he isn’t going anywhere for a while. But adding an additional bookend on the right could open up the Lions’ languishing run game.