Offensive line guru puts Detroit Lions offensive line in a tier all its own

The Detroit Lions arguably have the NFL's best offensive line, in a tier by itself according to one expert on the topic.

The Detroit Lions have invested in and built one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. With one change made this offseason (adding Kevin Zeitler to replace Jonah Jackson. which moves Graham Glasgow over to left guard) there's an argument for them as the best.

Brandon Thorn has advanced himself as one of the top offensive line experts out there, via his work at Trench Warfare and Establish The Run. In his tiered 2024 rankings of NFL offensive lines, here's the methodology he laid out.

"I specialize in evaluating trench play. The primary factors I use to arrive at these rankings are my game-film evaluations of each individual offensive lineman, 2023 performance as a unit, age, experience, continuity, and coaching."

Detroit Lions offensive line in a tier by itself

Thorn's top tier is tabbed as "Elite Offensive Lines". The Lions are the only one in that tier for him.

"The Lions are coming off of a dominant season as an offensive line unit with right tackle Penei Sewell reaching All-Pro status....“Complementing Sewell is another All-Pro, Frank Ragnow, at center with a solid starter in Taylor Decker at left tackle. Last year’s left guard, Jonah Jackson, left this offseason via free agency to the Rams, but Detroit was able to replace him in-house with last year’s predominant starter at right guard and versatile swing piece, Graham Glasgow. While Glasgow doesn’t offer as much explosiveness and athletic ability as Jackson, he is a solid ‘B’ level starter who will provide functional play. This lateral move for Glasgow led to the signing of savvy veteran Kevin Zeitler who, despite being at the end of his career, should be counted on to at least provide what Glasgow did last season in 2024.”

In Thorn's estimation, back by Pro Football Focus grades from last year, Zeitler replacing Glasgow at right guard should be a lateral move for the Lions. Glasgow will have a challenge moving to left guard on a regular basis for the first time since his second year in the league (2017), but he is a capable lineman with versatility as a primary asset.

The Lions are trending a little older across their offensive line, with an average age just over 29 years old. But they do have an eye on the future, adding developmental pieces like Giovanni Manu and Colby Sorsdal to ideally keep their front-five among the best for years to come.

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