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Left guard competition open heading into OTAs, camp

PHOENIX -- Four of Detroit's five starting spots along their offensive line seem to be pretty well in place, with the left guard spot the only one really up for grabs.

Taylor Decker will return at left tackle. Newly signed Rick Wagner will man the right tackle spot. Free-agent signee T.J. Lang is slated to play right guard. And Travis Swanson returns at center.

That means one of the best competitions heading into next month's start of the offseason training program and OTAs is at left guard.

Laken Tomlinson, who is entering his third season after being a first-round selection in 2015, and second-year players Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl are all in the mix, Lions general manager Bob Quinn told beat reporters at the league meetings.

Tomlinson began last year as the starter there, but eventually lost his spot to the rookie Glasgow, who would go on to start 11 games at both guard and center. Tomlinson regained a starting role at the end of the year when Glasgow had to shift over to center to replace the injured Swanson (concussion).

With Swanson now cleared to return to football operations, Glasgow shifts back into the mix at guard. That creates a logjam of sorts at the position, which Quinn certainly doesn't seem to mind at all. He preaches depth and competition, and he's got it at left guard.

He drafted Glasgow and Dahl among the first five picks in his first draft, and said at the Combine he's "excited" with the development he saw from Dahl in his first season.

So where does that leave Tomlinson, who's had an up-and-down first couple seasons in Detroit?

"Laken's going to compete at the left guard spot and we'll head into training camp and OTAs with really good depth and really good competition across the board, so we'll see how it goes with Laken," Quinn said.

It's obviously an important offseason for Tomlinson to show that he can have a role on Detroit's revamped offensive line in year three. It's equally important for Glasgow and Dahl to see if they can slot into the one open spot on an offensive line that looks to be much improved from a season ago.

The competition for that left guard spot will certainly be a fun one to watch all offseason and into training camp.

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