LIONS INSIDER

Raiola isn't worried about the Lions drafting a center

Posted Apr 23, 2014

The Lions could draft Dominic Raiola’s successor next month, which is just fine with him.

Dominic Raiola is a realist. The 14-year veteran is fully aware he’s on the back-end of a playing career that’s stemmed 204 career games and 188 starts.

However, the longest mainstay on the Detroit Lions offensive line still thinks he has a couple more good seasons in him. If he plays anything like he did last year, he just might be right.

Raiola overhauled his workout regimen last offseason and put on close to 20 pounds. The extra weight and strength paid off, as he had the best season of his career.

Pro Football Focus rated Raiola as the second-best center in the NFL last season. That kind of play earned him a new one-year, $1.5 million contract for 2014.

But again, the end is slowly approaching for Raiola and the Lions need to start planning for the future of the position.

The team met with a number of center prospects at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combing. They also brought in Mike Mayock’s No. 1 center prospect, Marcus Martin, for a pre-draft visit recently.

The Lions could draft Raiola’s successor next month, which is just fine with him.

“I’ve always been a team guy,” Raiola said after Tuesday's first voluntary minicamp practice. “As long as I’m doing my job, I should have a job on the field. I’m not going to last forever.

"It’s not an easy position to learn. If they draft somebody, so be it. I guess I get to teach him. I’m not going to have any hard feelings. I’m not that kind of teammate.”