As we start to look ahead to training camp, we're going to take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions roster. Next up is the offensive tackle position. (The final year of each player's contract is listed in parentheses.)
Going into this year's draft, there was some talk that the Lions might use their first-round pick on one of the top offensive tackles. This seemed a bit strange considering the Lions already had starters in place at both left tackle and right tackle, but the thinking was that they might decide to make an upgrade by taking someone like Taylor Lewan.
It turned out that the Lions went with tight end Eric Ebron in the first round, not an offensive tackle. (Lewan actually went one spot later to the Tennessee Titans.) This seemingly indicates that the Lions feel comfortable with left tackle Riley Reiff, who is entering his second season as a full-time starter. This also seems to be an indication that the Lions feel good about the right tackle position, where LaAdrian Waddle is expected to start again after moving to the top of the depth chart as an undrafted rookie midway through the 2013 season.
If Waddle doesn't start in 2014, chances are it'll be because Corey Hilliard won the job in training camp. As it stands right now, Hilliard is expected to be the Lions' top backup at offensive tackle, but the door hasn't been completely closed on the possibility of him getting a chance to start again. He made seven starts last season, but he is probably better suited for a backup role.
The Lions' other backup role at offensive tackle is up for grabs. Undrafted free agent Cornelius Lucas looks like the current favorite for that spot, but J.B. Shugarts and former tight end Michael Williams will try to beat him out in training camp. Bryce Quigley will also try to get into the mix for a roster spot, although he could end up spending more time inside at offensive guard when all is said and done.
Need going forward?
The Lions have two young starters, a veteran backup and a spot for a developmental player at offensive tackle. That's a pretty solid combination, so the Lions appear to be set at this position for the time being.