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O'HARA'S DRAFT PREVIEW: 10 offensive linemen that could interest Lions

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn's first assessment of the Detroit Lions' offensive line still holds true.

And it might affect what the Lions do in the draft.

"Right now I think it's our deepest unit," Lynn said in his first media session. "We can use a little more depth at tackle, but I like the guys that can play inside."

Lynn spoke highly of left tackle Taylor Decker, Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow and rookie left guard Jonah Jackson, who was a starter after being drafted in the third round last year.

This year's draft has a strong group of offensive tackles and interior linemen -- guards and centers -- led by tackle Penei Sewell of Oregon. Some analysts rate Sewell as one of the draft's top prospects at any position.

It would be hard for the Lions to pass on Sewell if he drops to them with the seventh pick in the first round. Chances are, Sewell won't get past the Bengals at No. 5. His addition would elevate a good unit into one of the NFL's best.

There are also good prospects available later in the draft.

Following is the Lions' depth on the offensive line, the draft's strength at tackle and the interior -- guard and center -- draft priority for the Lions and five tackles and five interior linemen who could fit.

Lions' depth chart: Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson, Tyrell Crosby, Logan Stenberg, Taylor Decker, Matt Nelson, Dan Skipper, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Evan Brown

Position draft strength, and Lions' priority: Solid draft for tackles and interior linemen. Not a primary need for the Lions, but if the right player is there -- and Sewell is the right player -- the Lions could take him at No. 7.

Five tackles who could interest the Lions:

1. Penei Sewell, Oregon

6-5, 325

Stats line: Two-year player, 21 games and 20 starts for the Ducks. Opted out in 2020 with impressive stats and performance on his resume: First sophomore to win the Outland Trophy as the nation's top collegiate lineman; only one sack allowed in 1,376 snaps played according to school stats, and a 17-3 won-loss record for the Ducks in games he started.

How he could fit the Lions: Ready to play on Day One.

2. Rashawn Slater, Northwestern

6-3, 305

Stats line: Three-year player, full-time starter as a 2017 freshman. Started 26 games at right tackle in 2017-18 and 12 at left tackle in 2019. Opted out in 2020.

How he could fit the Lions: Does not have prototype size for a pro tackle, but experience at both tackles shows his versatility to play guard and perhaps center.

3. Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

6-5, 314

Stats line: Spot starter as a 2018 freshman, took over left tackle as a sophomore, starting all 13 games in 2019 and nine in 2020. Was voted ACC OL of the week for helping Virginia Tech rush for 324 yards vs. Duke in a 2020 game.

How he could fit the Lions: Solid, reliable starter at left tackle who can get to the second level. Could project to right tackle. 

4. Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma St

6-6, 320

Stats line: A 2016 redshirt and part-time starter in 2017, took over to start 25 games in 2018-19 -- 22 at right tackle and three at left tackle. Honor to note: 2018 winner of the Barry Sanders Award for team's most contribution with least recognition. Opted out in 2020.

How he fits Lions: Size, starting experience at both tackles.

5. Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

6-5, 312

Stats line: Not as highly regarded as some others in the 2021 class, but the Alabama pedigree and versatility help his status. A four-year player and three-year starter. Played right guard in 2018 and left tackle in 2019-20. Elected to skip the 2020 NFL draft and return to Alabama as a fourth-year senior.

How he fits Lions: Starter at guard and tackle against tough SEC defenses adds to depth.

Five interior linemen who could interest the Lions:

1. G Alijah Vera-Tucker, Southern Cal

6-4, 315

Stats line: Short on playing experience -- 25 games in 2018 and 2019 with all 13 starts at left guard in 2019. A 2017 redshirt. Opted out in 2020.

How he could fit the Lions: Depth and competition at guard.

2. G Wyatt Davis, Ohio State

6-4, 315

Stats line: A three-year player for the Buckeyes and full-time starter at right guard the last two. Originally opted out in 2020 but changed his mind a few days later and returned to play. The Lions hit twice drafting offensive linemen from Ohio State -- Decker in the first round in 2016 and Jackson in 2020.

How he could fit the Lions: Experience at right guard is helpful.

3. C Landon Dickerson, Alabama

6-6, 326

Stats line: Stayed healthy after transferring to Alabama for his last two seasons, something he could not do in the previous three years at Florida State. Started all 13 games in 2019 -- four at right guard, nine at center -- and 12 at center in 2020. Won the 2020 Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center.

How he could fit the Lions: Versatility from starting at center and guard the last two years.

4. C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma

6-5, 312

Stats line: A three-year player, started 37 games at center, including every game in 2019-20. According to school stats, on 799 plays in 2019 he had 93 knockdown blocks and did not give up a sack.

How he could fit the Lions: Strength as run blocker, pass protection.

5. C Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater

6-3, 320

Stats line: A big man who made a big impact in Division III football. Played only two games in 2017, then started 29 in his last two seasons. His school did not play football in 2020 because of the pandemic. Teams have found gems in small colleges. This could be another one.

How he could fit Lions: Development for small school player who doesn't have to play right away.

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