Lions’ Offensive Line
General manager Bob Quinn made improving the Detroit Lions’ offensive line a point of emphasis in the off-season. The Lions acquired veterans T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner to replace Riley Reiff and Larry Warford. This was considered an upgrade on the right side of the line.
The offensive line looked to be a strength on this team until Taylor Decker was injured during mini-camps in June. The second-year left tackle suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery. He is expected to be out 4-6 months. Decker showed a ton of promise during his rookie season.
Without Decker, this unit should still be improved from last season. As it stands, Detroit’s starters on the offensive line are Rick Wagner, TJ Lang, Travis Swanson, Graham Glasgow, and Greg Robinson.
Wagner played college football at the University of Wisconsin. The five-year pro was drafted in 2013 by the Baltimore Ravens. Wagner has great size at 6’6 and 315 pounds.
He played in 62 out of 64 possible games for the Ravens. During that time, Baltimore had an efficient offensive line. Quarterback Joe Flacco had career highs in passing yards. In 2015, Baltimore’s offensive line allowed the third-fewest sacks in the league.
Lang is finally home in Detroit after signing a three-year deal with the Lions. He’s from Royal Oak, MI. He played college football at Eastern Michigan University.
Lang spent the last eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He was part of the 2011 Super Bowl championship team. Lang didn’t allow a sack last season at right guard, earning him Pro Bowl honors.
The fourth-year pro is entering his third season as the starting center for the Lions. Swanson is also entering the final year of his contract.
Swanson missed the final five games of last season with a brain injury. It’s very unfortunate considering how much better he played last season. His progression showed after having a rough 2015-2016 campaign.
Glasgow got a lot of good experience during his rookie season. He played meaningful minutes at guard and center last year.
His development will be something to watch this season. He’s clearly been good enough to get the starting role over Joe Dahl and Laken Tomlinson. The Lions are going to need him to step up in a big way on the left side of the offensive line.
Robinson is getting a second chance with the Lions. He was the second overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He struggled mightily, ranking towards the bottom among offensive tackles in the NFL.
Robinson has big shoes to fill in Detroit. He’s replacing Decker, arguably the best offensive lineman from a season ago. He has the talent to resurrect his career with the Lions. He wasn’t drafted as high as he was for no reason.