INDIANAPOLIS – Lions general manager Bob Quinn isn't blind to the fact that Detroit could look very different along their offensive line next season.
The entire right side of Detroit's starting line from a year ago (tackle Riley Reiff and guard Larry Warford) is hitting free agency. Quinn said he's had discussions with both Reiff's and Warford's representation about re-signing. If new deals with either one can't be struck, there are a number of good veteran offensive linemen hitting free agency.
Quinn could even opt to continue building via the draft like he did a year ago, when three offensive linemen were among his first five picks.
But there's still a fourth option, which is turning to someone already on the roster to fill a role. Second-year lineman Joe Dahl, who the Lions took in the fifth round out of Washington State last year, is a good candidate at guard.
Quinn was very high on Dahl's progress when speaking to reporters down at the Combine.
"We're excited about the young players that we brought in last year," Quinn said. "You know, Joe Dahl didn't play very much, but he was a guy that we really liked in the draft and he's really a developmental player that needed that year to kind of sit back, see how the National Football League plays."
Dahl played in just two games as a rookie in 2016 as he learned the pro game. Washington State threw the ball the majority of the time, which meant Dahl had to learn the complexities of an NFL run blocking scheme, along with a much more complicated playbook and whole new set of techniques.
"So to get him in a three-point stance, to learn how to run block, those are some things that he did a really good job working on and we're excited to see what he has going forward," Quinn said of Dahl.
Depending on what happens in free agency, Dahl could be in line to compete with Laken Tomlinson and Graham Glasgow for one of the starting guard spots in 2017.