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2023 Combine preview: Interior offensive line

This is one of the weaker interior offensive line classes as a whole in recent memory but there are a few plug and play guys at the top who can step in and help a team right away, led by Florida's O'Cyrus Torrence.

Top 5 interior offensive linemen to watch at the Combine:

1. O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida, 6-5, 337

Torrence transferred from Louisiana to Florida as a senior to play against stiffer SEC competition and he was dominant. He has terrific power and athleticism for a man his size. He didn't allow a single sack or quarterback hit this past season.

2. John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota, 6-3, 306

He was the best center at the Senior Bowl and a starter for the Golden Gophers the last four years. He's got terrific size for the position, which will also allow him to shift over play some guard too. Big, physical and smart, he's a center who anchors well and can hold up against strong interior defenders.

View photos of the offensive line prospects who were invited to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

3. Steve Avila, TCU, 6-3, 332

Avila can play both guard and center and was a three-year starter and team captain for the Horned Frogs. He has good athleticism to go with his big frame and will continue to get better as he gets a little crisper with his technique and hand usage.

4. Andrew Vorhees, USC, 6-6, 325

Vorhees has a really high football IQ with five years of starting experience in college. He pairs that with terrific size and strength to play either guard spot in the NFL. He understands how to do all the little things that can make him an effective starter in the NFL for a long time.

5. Luke Wypler, Ohio State, 6-3, 300

A bit undersized but Wypler makes up for it with his athleticism. He was a two-year starter at center for the Buckeyes and is a technician at the position. There will be some concerns about his arms being short by NFL standards, but if he adds muscle and strength to better hold up against the bull rush he can be a starter in this league.

Combine sleeper to watch: Cody Mauch, North Dakota State, 6-5, 305

Mauch played tackle in college, but he projects more as an interior lineman at the NFL level. He actually did his best work at the Senior Bowl later in the week when he moved inside to guard. He plays with a nasty attitude, which should serve him well inside.

View photos of the wide receiver prospects who were invited to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

Lions' need at the position: Moderate

This is a little bit of a projection for the Lions ahead of talking to GM Brad Holmes at the Combine because we haven't had an update on the health status of veteran right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who missed all of the 2022 season with a back injury. Vaitai is under contract for the upcoming season.

Evan Brown stepped in and played pretty well for Vaitai, but he's an unrestricted free agent who will likely get a nice payday. Tommy Kraemer played in nine games and made three starts as a rookie in 2021 but he too missed all of last season with a back injury. The health of Vaitai and Kraemer, and how the team feels about Vaitai's $12.4 cap number in 2023, will factor in to how big of a need this is for the Lions this offseason.

Detroit has four really good starting offensive linemen in left tackle Taylor Decker, left guard Jonah Jackson, center Frank Ragnow and right tackle Penei Sewell all returning next season. The Lions have not been afraid to spend draft and financial capital to shore up their offensive line and it would certainly make sense to continue that trend and take one of the draft's top interior linemen to lock down the right guard spot on a rookie salary number. There can certainly be a case made for the Lions to solidify their o-line with the No. 18 pick or one of their three Day 2 picks.

Key stat: Detroit surrendered a sack on only 3.9 percent of their drop backs, which ranked as the third best percentage in the NFL. Detroit's 24 sacks allowed in 2022 are the fourth fewest they've allowed in a season and their 163 sack yards and 3.9 percent sack rate both rank fifth in franchise history.

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