Can the Lions offensive line lead the resurgence in 2021?

Detroit Lions Offensive Line (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Detroit Lions Offensive Line (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow (77) (Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) /

Amid national talk that the Detroit Lions are lacking hides the truth that they will only go as far as the offensive line can take them

We’re about two weeks away from the Detroit Lions‘ first preseason game, August 13th versus the Buffalo Bills. Training camp has started and we’re getting our first looks at the players altogether. Up for discussion is how much investment the Lions have made in the offensive line and how they will dictate a lot of how 2021 goes in Motown.

BY now, we’ve all seen plenty of predictions and rankings about the team from Electronic Arts, ESPN, etc. Most national sources and Las Vegas have the Lions pegged as a 3-to-4 win team. If the Lions are going to exceed that mark, much will surely have to come from their most talented unit, their offensive line.

To give a little background, we’ve heard for years that management wanted to run the ball better to take pressure off of our quarterback and presumably to keep him upright, as well. This year we crossed a threshold and we have the third-most high draft picks invested into our line in the NFL.

We are tied for most first-round picks in our starting lineup with three, Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, and Penei Sewell. Two other teams have matched that mark, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. In addition, the Saints have both a second and a third-round starter, while the Falcons have two third-round picks starting with their No. 1’s.

The Detroit Lions have a third-round starting guard, Jonah Jackson, to go with their bookend tackles and center as top picks. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, the starting right guard, was signed to give flexibility after we let Graham Glasgow go in free agency before 2020; “Big V” is the 19th highest-paid offensive lineman in 2021 at $10.4 million in salary. Vaitai has also played tackle.

All contract and salary cap information is from Spotrac’s website, which documents pro sports transactions and data.