2016 training camp preview: Interior OL

On the roster: Laken Tomlinson, Larry Warford, Travis Swanson, Graham Glasgow, Gabe Ikard, Geoff Schwartz, Joe Dahl^, Chase Farris^

^also plays tackle

Key loss: Manny Ramirez

Making the cut: Tomlinson, Warford, Swanson, Glasgow, Dahl

On the bubble: Ikard, Schwartz, Farris

Best competition: Who starts at center?

Swanson will head into training camp as the incumbent starter, but expect Glasgow, the team's third-round pick this spring, to push him.

Swanson had an up and down second season in 2015 as a first-year starter. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 34th best center last season. He played through some shoulder pain toward the end of last season that eventually forced him to miss two games and require offseason surgery.

Glasgow, 6-foot-6, 307 pounds, is part of the youth movement up front for the Lions. Lions GM Bob Quinn wanted to get tougher and more physical upfront and Glasgow certainly brings that to the center position. Quinn selected three offensive linemen in his first five picks.

But can Glasgow pick up the scheme quickly? Can he get to a point at the end of training camp where he can make all the line calls? That'll be just as big a factor in determining if he can win the starting job as blocking.

Ikard will try and throw his hat into the competition as well. He's familiar with the scheme after joining the team late last year. He took first-team reps in OTAs when Swanson was rehabbing that shoulder.

2015 Stats: Interior OL
PlayerGamesSacks AllowedPenalties
Laken Tomlinson 16 4.5 4
Larry Warford 13 2.5 3
Travis Swanson 14 1 2
Graham Glasgow 13 0 N/A
Gabe Ikard+ 4 0 0
Geoff Schwartz# 11 6 2
Joe Dahl 9 3 N/A
Chase Farris 13 4 4
     * college stats     + also played with Buf     # with NYG*

Twentyman's take: Tomlinson and Warford have the two guard spots on lockdown. Tomlinson got better as the season progressed a season ago and should be even better in year two with a season under his belt and a full offseason to prepare his body and mind.

Warford hasn't been able to duplicate that fine rookie season he had in 2013 the last couple seasons, but injuries have played a part. He's missed three games in each of the last two seasons. He appears to be in better shape this offseason and is entering a contract year.

The depth looks pretty good at guard. Both Glasgow and fifth-round pick Joe Dahl can also play guard. The team also signed veteran guard Geoff Schwartz this offseason, who is a six-year veteran that knows the ropes.

The big questions mark is really at center. That was the biggest area of weakness along the offense line last season, in my opinion. If that's an area the Lions can strengthen, either by Swanson improving his play or someone new stepping in, the interior of that Lions offensive line has the potential to be more consistent in 2016.

By the numbers:

82.5: Goal-to-go touchdown efficiency percentage for the Lions last season. That was the second-best mark in the league.

2.97: Detroit averaged just 2.97 yards per rush when running up the middle in 2015. That average was better both going right (4.1) and left (3.9).

62.3: Conversion percentage on 3rd and short (less than four yards), which ranked 14th in the NFL last season.


"I think he's come back, gained his strength a little bit back," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Swanson during June's minicamp.

"He's moving well. He's made a lot of strides just in terms of physically, more mature guy in there. I think he's doing well right now."

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