I really can't say if Detroit will be going OL in the first, I think that they will enter the draft with an open mind and take the BPA. Since an upgrade is needed along the Oline i thought i would look at what we got... at the Tackles we got Backus, Cherilus, Fox, Hilliard and Ugoh, at Center we got Raiola and Gandy and at the guards we got Sims and Peterman. Lets take a look at each individual.
Jeff Backus played a nice game all year but entering his 11th season you really have to wonder how many more miles does he have left. I felt that Backus had a Pro Bowl year but as aways was over looked, funny thing is he was named to the ESPN ALL NFC North Team in which he beat out Chad Clifton and Donald Penn.
Gosder Cherilus seems to have really found his way in his 3rd year with the Lions. Gos also played a nice game up until his season ending injury but when healthy was looking more confident and comfortable on the right side. Consistency seem's to be a thing of the past and hopefully remains in the past. Gos is a better run blocker than pass blocker and looks like he may have finally figured the game out.
Fox, Hilliard and Ugoh are depth at the tackle position and out of the three Hilliard has seen the most time for the Lions.
Jason Fox since we've only seen him play in one game its hard to say what he can and can't do, Fox was a 4th round pick in last years draft but was projected as a 2nd round pick who drop down the board due to being injuried. He really hasn't wowed anybody yet but he also hasn't made you question why Schwartz selected him where he did either. His profile reads that he is quick and athletic for a 300 pounder. Experienced and polished, is more of a run blocker but can hold his own in the pass game, he's not the mauler type, needs to up his intensity/nasty level for NFL Oline, a bit injury prone and needs to add strength and bulk.
Tony Ugoh was selected by the Indianpolis Colts as a 2nd round pick in 07, Ugoh was signed by the Lions in the later half of the season and never seen the field. Detroit did sign him to a 2 instead of a one year contract. His profile reads can really plow the field as a run blocker, with the tools to anchor a run blocking unit: size, athleticism, mobility, quickness, agility and power. A bit of a late bloomer and still learning, somewhat raw as a pass protector and doesnt always play with proper leverage.
Corey Hilliard is a product of the New England Patroits who selected him in the 07 draft in the 6th round, Hilliard was given the nod after starter Cherilus went down with injury. Corey is on his 4th team in 3 years and may have found a place to call home, he did an okay job as a back up but was a little jumpy.
Dominic Raiola is under sized and cocky as they come. Raiola is entering his 11th season. He struggles in the run game but is okay in the passing game, gets the QB the ball rather there under center or in a shot gun. Needs help blocking from the guards and backs and really takes away from the potential of the line.
Dylan Gandy is the same mold of Raiola just not as good, he has all the traits of Dom but is best suited as a back up. He entered the league in 05 and was selected by the Colts in the 4th round.
Rob Sims is the road grader in the run game selected in the 4th round by Seattle in 06 was one of the brighter spots on the line. He is a better run blocker than pass protector but still did an outstanding job this year. Really makes the game look easy from his position and opens holes that Kevin Jones could find his way through.
Stephen Peterman could be a good guard but seems to always be hurt. Drafted in 04 by Dallas in the 3rd round Peterman is another road grader that can also pass block, once again only knock is he can't stay healthy or stop from jumping offsides or holding long enough for me to like him.
I'm not for taking a tackle in the draft and i'm not against it . I trust in Schwartz and Mayhew 100% and i feel like they will do whats best for the Detroit Lions in 2011 and beyond, so until they make a bad decission i have to stand by them and there choices. I won't say that Detroit won't draft a tackle in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or so on b/c i don't know how they rate Backus, Cherilus, Fox, Hilliard and Ugoh. I read an artical that had Schwartz saying that Backus will play LT and only LT until the draft, now you can take what you want from it but to me it sounds like Jim could be playing a little musical chairs at the tackle spot. Does that mean Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi or Anthony Castonzo are on Schwartz draft list, i'm sure they are with 30 other names it just means that Schwartz and Co. are going into the 2011 season with an open mind and not just handing returning starters and vets the job.
I like the left side of the line with Backus and Sims, i understand Backus is getting old but i think with Sims he can go another year. I don't like Raiola and i am unsure about Peterman, i like what i have seen out of Gos and hope he comes back healthy and continues raise his level of play. As for the depth i like Fox, Hilliard and Ugoh but think its time to say goodbye to Gandy. Here is a few linemen i like in the draft around the 3rd and down: James Carpenter, Ryan Pugh, Zane Taylor, Justin Boren, Stephen Schilling and John Moffitt.