3 Detroit Lions veterans who could lose their starting job to a rookie

Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images /
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Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

3. OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Rookie Who Could Take His Job: Kevin Jarvis

Vaitai played better last year than he did in his first year as a Lion in 2020, and his role as a mentor for Penei Sewell shouldn’t be devalued. In a broad sense he’s safe after a guard wasn’t drafted, but then Detroit made significant guaranteed money commitments to undrafted rookies Obinna Eze and Kevin Jarvis.

Jarvis started games at right guard (25), right tackle (11 and left tackle (three) at Michigan State, earning Big Ten Honorable Mention last season as he started eight games at right guard and four at right tackle.  As mentioned the Lions gave him $155,000 in total guarantees, which gives him an automatic good chance to stick around.

The Lions are not cramped for cap space, but a post-June 1 cut of Vaitai would clear $7 million. If Jarvis is given any legit shot to win the starting job at right guard and makes his case, Vaitai could become a trade candidate too.

“Big V” is the only member of the Lions starting offensive line who’s on any sort of shaky ground, and even he’s not that vulnerable at this point. But there’s a scenario where Jarvis really impresses through OTAs and training camp, and forces the Lions’ hand on a tough decision.