Over the course of the first four days of training camp practices, all four veteran guards on Detroit’s roster – Graham Glasgow, Kenny Wiggins, Oday Aboushi and Joe Dahl – have rotated in with the first-team unit on offense.
The Lions are looking for a starting replacement for T.J. Lang, and it appears they’re going to give everyone a shot and see who rises to the top.
“We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of football and depth is a great thing to have,” Wiggins said after Saturday’s first padded practice of camp. “Whoever gets the nod, it’s up in the air right now, who knows, we’re just out here competing trying to get better.”
Glasgow is expected to be the favorite to start at right guard with Wiggins entering camp as the favorite to win the starting left guard spot.
Wiggins has made stops with the Ravens, 49ers and Chargers. He filled in for Lang last season for 10 games, and finally has a chance to make the starting job his own.
He’ll certainly have to earn the job, however.
Aboushi is entering his seventh season and has started 32 of the 42 career games he’s played in, including eight in Seattle in 2017, when Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held the same role with the Seahawks.
Dahl, a former fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2015, has played in 22 games, mostly as a backup (four career starts), but he did a nice job transforming his body this offseason to increase muscle mass and lower body fat. He’s hoping that hard work translates to the field and keeps him in the competition throughout camp.
“Remember as we evaluate all that we’re trying to find a fit that works for our team as we evaluate those guys that when they play together, they may not, necessarily, be all individually, it’s kind of the fit of the five,” head coach Matt Patricia said Sunday of the competition.
Part of the evaluation, according to Patricia, is also how versatile players can be, not only playing left or right guard, but who can play center, if needed.
“The guys that can come in and step up into those different positions and function at a high level, that’s really important,” Patricia said. “If you get a guy in and you have to force him to play a position – he’s okay but he’s not really comfortable at, that gives an advantage to the defense, so we are trying to eliminate that as we go.”
Look for the Lions to continue to rotate players in and mix up groupings as they try to not only find the best replacement for Lang at guard, but the best five-man group upfront.