The Detroit Lions draft one position better than almost anyone

Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images /

Over the last several NFL drafts, the Detroit Lions have drafted offensive lineman better than almost every other team in the league.

The roots of the Detroit Lions shortcomings can be traced back to draft mistakes, but there’s one spot they’ve drafted better than almost every other NFL team over the last several drafts.

Timo Riske of Pro Football Focus created a graph outlining how each team has drafted offensive lineman from 2013-2021, on a per-pick basis and weighted by draft position.

Riske highlighted the Kansas Chiefs’ success drafting offensive lineman during Brett Veach’s tenure as general manager. But there are the Lions, in the second-highest spot on the chart.

In his first year as Lions’ general manager last year, Brad Holmes of course took offensive tackle Penei Sewell seventh overall. But going back to 2013, to the final years of Martin Mayhew’s tenure as general manager and Bob Quinn’s entire tenure in the job, the Lions have used plenty of draft picks on offensive lineman.

G Larry Warford (65th overall, third round-2013)
C Travis Swanson (76th overall, third round-2014)
G Laken Tomlinson (28th overall, first round-2015)
T Corey Robinson (240th overall, seventh round-2015)
T Taylor Decker (16th overall, first round-2016)
C Graham Glasnow (95th overall, third round-2016)
G Joe Dahl (151st overall, fifth round-2016)
C Frank Ragnow (20th overall, first round-2018)
T Tyrell Crosby (153rd overall, fifth round-2018)
G Jonah Jackson (75th overall, third round-2020)
G Logan Stenberg (121st overall, fourth round-2020)
T Penei Sewell (7th overall, first round-2021)

Some of these guys (Warford, Tomlinson and Glasnow to some degree) went on to have success elsewhere. But the pure evaluation successes have ranged from first-round picks (Decker, Ragnow, Sewell and Tomlinson) to third-rounders like Warford, Glasnow and Jackson, who was a Pro Bowl alternate for the Lions last year and got to go play in the game as an injury replacement.

If the Lions draft an offensive lineman this year, it will be a later pick (as in Day 3). But that potential pick could be someone who eventually sticks, if the franchise’s recent drafting is any indicator.

Next. Todd McShay's two-round mock an A-plus for the Detroit Lions. dark