There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Detroit Lions' starting offensive line. Travis Swanson should start at center, and Larry Warford will start at right guard, but the other three spots are up in the air right now.
At left guard, for example, the Lions don't currently have a starting-caliber player on their roster. They could sign Justin Blalock, re-sign Rob Sims or bring in another free agent to fill that need, or they could just wait until the draft to find their starter. In any case, the Lions' starting left guard is not currently on their roster.
At left and right tackle, meanwhile, there are a bunch of different variables in play. Jim Caldwell shut down the idea of Riley Reiff moving to guard, but he could still shift over to right tackle. That will depend largely on what happens in the NFL Draft, and the health of LaAdrian Waddle could also be a factor.
Basically, the Lions could go a lot of different ways with their starting spots at left tackle, left guard and right tackle in 2015. Let's examine four of the most likely scenarios for the upcoming season:
Scenario 1: Draft a new left tackle
LT Draft pick | LG Free agent or draft pick | C Swanson | RG Warford | RT Reiff
Chances are this scenario would be the result of the Lions using the 23rd overall pick on an offensive tackle. It's entirely possible that draft pick could slot in at right tackle as a rookie, but this scenario assumes Reiff moves over to that side of the O-line. This would give the Lions an upgrade at right tackle and a potential upgrade at left tackle.
Scenario 2: Draft a new right tackle
LT Reiff | LG Free agent or draft pick | C Swanson | RG Warford | RT Draft pick
Whether the Lions add a tackle in the first round or later in the draft, perhaps Reiff will hang on to his current starting job. In this scenario, Waddle would still be moved into a backup role, but the draft pick would be the one taking over the starting right tackle job. This again would likely result in an upgrade at right tackle, and the Lions' overall depth would certainly be improved. Left tackle would remain the same, though.
Scenario 3: Focus on guard and leave the tackle spots alone
LT Reiff | LG Draft pick | C Swanson | RG Warford | RT Waddle
All of these scenarios leave the door open for the Lions to start a free agent or a draft pick at left guard. In this particular scenario, however, a free agent isn't even in consideration at left guard. That's because I'm envisioning a scenario where the Lions spend a top draft pick on an offensive lineman who would be a starter at guard from Day 1. This could be someone who is strictly an interior lineman, or this could be somebody who will eventually move outside to tackle after beginning his career inside. In any case, the Lions' best options for this scenario would be to stick with their current starting tackles while the rookie comes in and plays left guard.
Scenario 4: No major changes
LT Reiff | LG Free agent | C Swanson | RG Warford | RT Waddle
The final scenario worth examining for now is one where basically nothing changes. The tackle spots remain the same, and the only thing up in the air is which free agent starts at left guard. Re-signing Sims would keep basically the same group from last season together, and the only real change would be Swanson stepping in for Dominic Raiola. Adding Blalock would give the Lions a brand-new starter at left guard, but they would still be in a situation where that's a short-term fix more than anything.
To make a long story short, there are a lot of moving parts with the Lions' offensive line this year, especially if you start considering scenarios where Swanson ends up at left guard instead of center or Waddle/Cornelius Lucas moves over to the left side. The Lions seem very interested in making some kind of an upgrade with their starting offensive line in the draft, but it's unclear where that upgrade will happen. A new left tackle in the first round could result in right tackle being upgraded in the process, for example, but perhaps the Lions will focus their efforts on guard instead.
In any case, there are a ton of different possible combinations for the Lions' 2015 starting offensive line. Until the draft happens, it's tough to even guess what it might look like in Week 1, but what lineup do you hope to see for the Lions in 2015?