On the Roster Options to Replace Warford
Not only does Warford have his athleticism and free agency cost working against him, but his replacement may be currently on the roster.
Former first round pick Laken Tomlinson (4.91 sec short shuttle; notice this doesn’t fit Quinn’s profile either), has plenty of experience at right guard, starting there for every game of his four-year career at Duke. He has struggled on the left side in Detroit and was replaced this season by rookie Graham Glasgow (4.63), but he flashed at right guard in spots when he needed to replace Warford in the lineup.
Also, in the conversation will be second year player Joe Dahl (4.77). Dahl has an impressive preseason, but was a game day inactive for most of the season. He has much better athleticism than Tomlinson and if the Lions want to increase the agility of their line, he will strongly considered.
Free Agent/Draft Replacements
Top free agents T.J. Lang and Kevin Zeitler will be at the top of the market this off-season, if they reach free agency. Both have excellent short shuttle times (Lang = 4.42, Zeitler = 4.61) and have proven consistency on the field. The biggest obstacle to adding either player is they will likely command similar contracts as discussed above about Warford. If money was no option, and both were on the market, T.J. Lang would be the ideal player to add based on production, athleticism, and scheme fit.
A more realistic option would be Stefen Wisniewski (4.63 short shuttle) because of his versatility to back up all three interior spots, his capability to challenge for a starting job, and cost (he signed a one-year $1.51 million contact in 2016).
Quinn may also take a shot at an upside or reclamation project player like Patrick Omameh (4.66), guard/tackle Luke Joeckel (4.68), or guard/center Brian Schwenke (4.74). Veterans guard/center Chris Chester (4.5) and Jahri Evans (4.8) would be interesting camp competition like Geoff Schwartz was last year.
If Bob Quinn turns to the draft for competition, my current top-three guards are all day-two prospects, and capable of playing right guard immediately. Dan Feeney (Indiana), Pat Elflein (Ohio State) and Taylor Moton (Western Michigan) are all players whose short shuttle times I will be keeping a close eye on at the NFL Combine next month.