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Offensive line emerging as a strength, could be a top unit in 2022

LOS ANGELES – Former NFL guard and current FOX Sports Radio analyst Geoff Schwartz has spent his post-playing career breaking down offensive line play across the league.

When asked about the Lions' offensive line and their potential next season, Schwartz said they can be one of the better units in the NFL.

"It is a good unit, and it's kind of odd to be bad in the win column with a good offensive line," Schwartz said. "You can't be bad. Will you automatically win 12 games, no, but with a good offensive line you're not going to be bad. And if you're a Lions fan, you should be happy about that."

The Lions have spent significant resources over the years building their offensive line, spending three first-round picks on left tackle Taylor Decker (2016), center Frank Ragnow (2018) and right tackle Penei Sewell (2021). Jonah Jackson was a third-round pick in 2020, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai was a key free-agent signing that same year. Jackson made his first Pro Bowl in his second season this year.

View photos of Detroit Lions guard Jonah Jackson and Detroit Lions Cheerleader Micah at the 2022 Pro Bowl in Las Vegas, NV.

The hope for 2022 is that we see those five together for most of, if not all season. They didn't play a single game together as a unit this past season because of injury.

Decker missed the first eight games with a finger/hand injury. While Decker was out, the Lions lost Ragnow, a Pro Bowler in 2020, to a foot injury Week 4 in Chicago. He didn't play again in 2021. Both Vaitai (2) and Jackson (1) also missed games.

And still, Detroit's offensive line finished in the top half of the league (13th) in Pro Football Focus' final grades for offensive line units around the league.

Decker, Jackson, Ragnow, Vaitai and Sewell are all under contract next season.

Five-time Pro Bowler and current finalist for the Hall of Fame, Tony Boselli, agreed with Schwartz that the talent level upfront in Detroit can be one of the best in the NFL next year.

View photos from DLA Field Trip to the Charles H. Wright Museum.

"They have a lot of talent," Boselli told on Radio Row Thursday. "And you can do so much with that. Your quarterback is more comfortable. He can sit back there and you can do more stuff down the field.

"When you control the line of scrimmage you can run the ball, so now you're in favorable down and distance. To me, it just makes playing the game easier when you can block people and they are pretty good at blocking people."

Detroit also has depth upfront, so it's probably the most complete position group on the roster heading into the season along with running back.

Head coach Dan Campbell wants to be balanced on offense and have a team that can win in the trenches. If this offensive line can stay healthy in 2022, Campbell just might get his wish.

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