Detroit Lions 2021 roster needs / NFL Draft strategy (Part 2 - Offensive Line)
In part 2 of this series, we take a look at the offensive line depth in this NFL draft.
This series is focused on what prospects are available at each pick position for Detroit.
There's much debate on social media between Lions as to exactly what is required on the offensive line. Almost everyone is resigned to keeping Big V considering the contract he is on. Almost everyone is satisfied with everything LT, LG and C. That leaves RT and Tyrell Crosby. Personally, I think Crosby had a great year considering the standard of opposition and the amount of rotation at RG beside him which always impacts production. If he was the RT1 this year, I think that would play very well. Having said that, it's clear that Crosby is not, and will probably never be a top 10 RT in this league ever.
I'm going to retain an open mind on what that means, but the depth behind the starters right now is lacking/non-existent and that needs to be borne in mind.
In this draft, at the time of writing, Detroit picks at the following spots:
7, 41, 72, 101, 112, 153.
There are only two options here:
Penei Sewell LT, Oregon. 6'6, 325. Sewell is a 2020 opt-out, and yet for the longest time was the consensus no.2 pick until a month ago. He's a junior, only 20 years old, and yet his production jumps off the page. He's not perfect and needs some polishing, but he allowed no sacks in 2019. Personally, he's an instant top 10 Left Tackle in the NFL.
Rashawn Slater LT/LG, Northwestern. 6'3, 305. Another 2020 opt-out, Slater has amazing versatility. He's played Guard and DE in high school, and at both tackle positions in college. His lack of height may see him move inside at the pro level. He's a nasty player who keeps busy and finds work which is a trait I value very highly.
Honourable mention: Christian Darrisaw LT, Virginia. 6'5, 314. Darrisaw is someone who's flirted with this range but has fallen down a little in recent weeks. An athletic freak his footwork is the only weak part of his game, however, for me, he looks bored playing the game, that he takes no enjoyment in it and that's a major red flag. Perhaps playing NFL level talent each week will energise him, but I fear that he's a major bust prospect.
Wyatt Davis, OG, Ohio State. 6'4, 315. Another one who might be gone before here, but could fall. His only flaw is that he lacks a little length but he's a terrific blocker and made the BTN All-Decade team.
Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame. 6'6, 302. Great feet, balance and a good football IQ. Versatile and a hard worker. Has question marks against top tier opponents.
Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson. 6'5, 335. Superb run blocker with a nasty streak, but room for improvement in pass blocking.
Dillon Radunz, OT, NDSU. 6'5, 304. Trey Lance's best friend at NDSU blocking for him. A converted Defensive End, Radunz didn't allow a sack in 2019. He's an elite athlete for his size with great balance but tends to be more reactive than proactive.
Creed Humphrey, OC, Oklahoma. 6'4, 312. An offensive line leader, he hasn't allowed a sack in two seasons. He had been labelled as "not the most athletic" but his monster pro-day performance put those worries to rest. The best center of the 2021 class.
Walker Little, OT, Stanford. 6'7, 309. A 2020 opt-out, Little had a season-ending injury in 2019's opening game and so he won't have played a game in almost 2 years by 2021's opening game. A technically and physically gifted man, he's excellent in run blocking but can suffer against a speed rusher.
Landon Dickerson, OC, Alabama. 6'6, 326. Dickerson has played at all 5 positions on the O-line, and that type of versatility is going to be valued by teams. Best served at guard or center, he's intelligent and above average in all the vital skills, however, he's had consistent injury issues with only one complete season, in 2019.
Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee. 6'6, 326. A right guard, Smith is very powerful but lacks mobility. His skillset is therefore scheme-specific, needing to play in a gap/power run scheme. He has also had a recurring blood clotting problem in his lungs which could affect his draft stock.
Josh Myers, OC, Ohio State. 6'5, 312. A big center, he's laterally mobile but lacks a burst of acceleration. He's not a dynamic player and has a lower ceiling than some without discovering some additional quickness.
James Hudson, OT, Cincinnati. 6'4, 302. A one-year starter at tackle, having converted from the defensive line, he's a very raw talent but his ceiling is very high if he can bring it all together.
Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame. 6'5, 338. A multi-year starter, his fit is very scheme specific. He can be a starter on a man/gap/power scheme, but teams that ask him to play in space or laterally will struggle to find value in Banks.
Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa. 6'8, 311. A right tackle, he's built differently. He shows explosiveness in a straight line and blocks with surprising leverage for someone of his size, but struggles in lateral adjustments when his footwork lets him down. Struggled in the Senior Bowl practices.
Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama. 6'3, 344. A beefy, wide-bodied blocker, he's a physically imposing run blocker. He is a guard only, with no experience at tackle or center. He gets initial success regularly but tends to get beaten more on average as the play progresses. He has issues keeping his weight down and had a 6 games suspension for a violation of team rules in late 2018.
Brady Christensen, OT, BYU. 6'6, 300. PFF's no.1 ranked OT in 2020, Christensen played LT for the Cougars. He has athletic limitations which could impact him in the pros, but his football IQ is exceptional. May need to kick inside to guard, or settle for a backup swing tackle role.
Jack Anderson, OG, Texas Tech. 6'4, 309. Anderson was limited to 3 games in 2020 due to injury but had 28 consecutive starts prior to this. He has a well-developed physique, is scheme versatile, but only has experience at RG. His technique lacks somewhat and he also lacks lateral agility which isn't an ideal combination. With some polishing, he could be a Year 2 starter.
Ben Cleveland, OG, Georgia. 6'6, 354. A nasty interior lineman with solid technique. His size makes him difficult to bullrush. An average athlete only but good football IQ, he could play a role in a 2021 NFL offense.
Adrian Ealy, OT, Oklahoma. 6'6, 326. Primarily an RT, he's strong at the point of attack with solid footwork and anchor. However, he's still a really raw player with iffy technique which allows him to come off-balance regularly. He may need a couple of years before becoming a starter.
So that's your offensive line prospects for 2021 for the Detroit Lions. Who would you like to take? Sewell may fall to us at 7, and is that too tempting? Or perhaps Brady Christiansen is more tempting at 112? Whatever you think, let us know!
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