The position is a potential concern for the Detroit Lions looking down the road, so they are doing plenty of pre-draft work on guard prospects.
We know about the right guard situation for the Detroit Lions, as Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Graham Glasgow are set to compete. But left guard Jonah Jackson is also entering the final year of his rookie contract, and while an extension appears likely it’s not 100 percent certain.
Of their known top-30 pre-draft visits, the Lions have UCLA’s Antonio Mafi and N.C. State’s Chandler Zavala on their docket. Now, TCU guard Steve Avila is on their schedule too.
The Lions are clearly doing a lot of due diligence on Avila, perhaps more than any other guard they’re eyeing during the pre-draft process. They met with him at the Senior Bowl, then the NFL Combine and they are expected to be at TCU’s Pro Day on Thursday. He played left guard, center and right tackle for the Horned Frogs. He was a consensus All-American playing left guard last season, and a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, which is given to the nation’s best lineman. He was also a captain on a TCU team that reached the national title game.
Avila measured 6-foot-3 and 332 pounds at the Combine, and he worked at guard, tackle and center in practice sessions at the Senior Bowl to show NFL teams his versatility. But at the next level, he clearly projects to be a guard with shorter arms (32.5 inches) and without great agility. However, he does look like a good fit for the Lions’ gap-oriented run scheme, which would require him to work in short areas and put his best attributes on display.
Avila is a projected Day 2 pick, and he seems to have pretty solid schedule of top-30 visits coming up. The Lions would likely be looking at taking a guard in that range, and the big man out of TCU is clearly firmly on their radar.