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 center position. (The final year of each player's contract is listed in parentheses.)
Back from last season: Dominic Raiola (2014), Darren Keyton (2015)
New to the team: Travis Swanson (2017)
It's pretty amazing how much the outlook of the center position has changed since last summer. The thinking at that time was that Dominic Raiola was entering his final season with the Lions, and the thinking was that center would continue to be a weak point in the offensive line. Instead, though, Raiola had an outstanding season and is back as the starting center yet again.
The Lions did make an effort to find Raiola's eventual replacement this offseason by drafting Travis Swanson in the third round. Swanson should get work at both offensive guard and center this summer as he readies to be a backup as a rookie. In 2015, the expectation will be for Swanson to be ready to take over the starting job at center, but I suppose there's no guarantee that Raiola will be ready to retire.
The other backup at center is Darren Keyton, who was with the Lions last summer and can play offensive guard as well. With Swanson in place as the backup center, Keyton will have to really impress at offensive guard to even have a shot at making the team, and even then, the practice squad is still his most likely destination if he sticks around with the Lions going into the regular season.
Need going forward?
The Lions have a veteran starter in place in Raiola and a hopeful future starter in Swanson, so this position is set barring an injury.