The Detroit Lions offensive line group has plenty of undecided space left

Detroit Lions, Graham Glasgow (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions, Graham Glasgow (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions offensive line group is in flux going into the fourth preseason game. The interior depth could fall in any number of ways.

The most important group of players for a Detroit Lions team looking to improve on 2017’s nine and seven performance is the offensive line. The Lions did not overhaul the group from the top, as they did with the running backs, they let a starter walk, and replaced him. They also brought in depth players that will ensure that last season can’t be repeated.

Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner are the starters at left and right tackle respectively. They are a solid set of bookends, though both battled injuries last year. Decker missed half the season, Wagner was barely able to play for a similar period. Both are looking to rebound in 2018.

Corey Robinson has been a stalwart of the Lions offensive line room for three seasons. He too missed half of 2017. Robinson has served as both a left and right tackle in times of injury for the team. He is likely to serve as the swing tackle to open the season.

Tyrell Crosby joined the Lions in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft. There have been times where he looked like the second round prospect that every draftnik agreed he was before the draft. There have been other times where he looked the part of the day three pick the league saw. in either case, the cold terror Lions fans felt whenever an offensive tackle took a moment to get up last year is gone. Crosby looks like a player.

Brian Mihalik has done a reasonable job of keeping Jake Rudock upright late in games. There does not appear to be a spot for him on the active roster, but he is a strong candidate to be on the practice squad. He was one of the least awful reserve tackles the Lions put on the field in 2017. He just is not versatile enough to justify a fifth offensive tackle on the roster.

The interior of the offensive line is a crap shoot outside the starting lineup. Frank Ragnow will start at left guard, Graham Glasgow at center and T.J. Lang will be the right guard if healthy. Beyond that, anything could happen,

Ragnow has stepped into the NFL like he belongs. He is as ready as any rookie ever has been. The early returns on that pick are that Bob Quinn made the right choice.

Glasgow and Lang have been battling injuries and that has given some other players more opportunity to run with the first team. Unfortunately for the Lions, nobody has really jumped out and claimed their spot.

Kenny Wiggins, Joe DahlWesley Johnson and Leo Koloamatangi have all put up very good film. They have also all put up very bad film. Inconsistency is the defining characteristic of the group. For Wiggins and Johnson, they are veterans and what they are now is unlikely to improve. Dahl and Koloamatangi are still developing players and may improve.

My feeling is that Wiggins makes the roster because the Lions offensive line coach Jeff Daniels has worked with him before, and knows his play well. The two spent time together in the Chargers organization and had success. That always works in a players favor when cut downs come next week.

I also believe that Joe Dahl will make the team. He has the advantage of having played his best game near the end of the preseason. Pro Football Focus rated Dahl as one of the Lions top performers in Tampa Bay for the third preseason game. A solid fourth game should lock him in.

That leaves Kolomatangi and Johnson fighting for a fifth position. Koloamatangi has practice squad eligibility, and Johnson has starting experience. If Koloamatangi can put up another solid game though, he is not going to get to the practice squad.

Next. The Lions running back roster is set, but not roles. dark

The interior of the Lions offensive line is probably the most interesting position group to watch in the fourth preseason game. Despite my personal feelings on the subject, there are no givens in that group, everyone outside the starting lineup could be on the street Saturday.