2017 training camp preview: Guard and center

On roster: T.J. Lang, Travis Swanson, Graham Glasgow, Laken Tomlinson, Joe Dahl, Matt Rotheram, Brandon Thomas, Leo Koloamatangi

Key loss: Larry Warford

Making cut: Lang, Swanson, Glasgow, Tomlinson, Dahl

On bubble: Rotheram, Thomas, Koloamatangi

Best competition: Who starts at left guard?

View photos of the guards and centers competing for roster spots entering training camp.

Glasgow, Tomlinson and Dahl are the favorites heading into camp. Glasgow got a lot of the starting reps at left guard in the open OTAs and minicamp, with Tomlinson filling in for the injured Lang at right guard.

With Lang expected to be back on the field for the start of training camp, Tomlinson is expected to shift over and compete with Glasgow and Dahl for the starting left guard spot.

Tomlinson earned the role out of camp last season, but Glasgow replaced him midseason. It wasn’t until Swanson suffered a concussion and Glasgow had to shift over to center that Tomlinson got back into the starting lineup.

Tomlinson, a former first-round pick by the Lions in 2014, is entering year three. If he can’t beat out Glasgow and Dahl this training camp, he probably never will.

Dahl is the wildcard here. He was shifted to left tackle after Taylor Decker went down with a shoulder injury in early June, but with the trade for Greg Robinson and the signing of Cyrus Kouandjio, Dahl is expected to slot back into the interior at guard. Dahl has impressed coaches with his versatility and that’s a nice trait to have as an offensive lineman looking for playing time in this league.

2016 stats
PLAYERGAMESSACKS ALLOWEDPENALTIES
T.J. Lang# 13 1.0 4
Travis Swanson 12 2.0 3
Graham Glasgow 15 3.5 6
Laken Tomlinson 16 3.5 3
Joe Dahl 6 0.0 0
Matt Rotheram^ 0 0.0 0
Brandon Thomas^ 0 0.0 0
Leo Koloamatangi 13 1.0 N/A
# with GB     ^ 2016 PS     * college stats*


Twentyman’s take: Lang brings Super Bowl experience to the interior of this line and is an immediate upgrade at right guard. He was a Pro Bowler for the Packers last season.

It was evident during the first open OTA practice that a year in a NFL weight program has done Glasgow some good. He looked much more compact and put together starting this offseason than he did as a rookie last year coming out of Michigan. He’s a mauler and the Lions could use more of that mentality if they're going to get some consistency out of their run game.

Swanson was having his best season as a professional before a concussion ended his season prematurely. He’s back and ready to roll and that’s important for this offensive line.

Lang, Swanson and Glasgow look to be the top three interior linemen on the roster heading into camp, but Dahl, Tomlinson and the rest of the guards and centers will attempt to push them and earn roles for themselves.

By the numbers:

16: The number of playoff games Lang has participated in dating back to his rookie year in 2009. He’s played in the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, every year of his NFL career.

7: The total number of quarterback hurries allowed by Swanson in 12 games last season.

110: The number of times the Lions ran up the middle (between the two guards) last year. Only nine teams ran up the middle fewer times.

Quotable: “I think the competition should always be there,” Glasgow said this offseason. “You should always be a competitor. I think that a lot of guys on our offensive line have that mentality. That competitor’s mentality. I think it’s going well. I think I’ve gotten better. We’ll see.”

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