The outlook of the left guard position has changed multiple times this offseason for the Detroit Lions. At one point, it looked like they were going to bring in free agent Justin Blalock to start at left guard, but nothing ever came of their interest in him. Later, it seemed that Rob Sims would be brought back to continue starting at that spot, but again, nothing ever came of that.
Instead, the Lions overhauled the left guard position with a pair of moves on the first night of the draft. First, they acquired veteran interior lineman Manny Ramirez in a trade with the Denver Broncos. Then, after moving down in the first round as part of the trade, they selected Duke guard Laken Tomlinson.
Let's start with Tomlinson, who was this year's first-round pick. He joins the Lions after being a four-year starter at right guard at Duke. The switch to the left side of the line isn't expected to be a difficult one for Tomlinson, who was just recently named the ACC Male Athlete of the Year for his efforts during the 2014 season. He's extremely intelligent and has extremely high character, and clearly he's quite talented as a football player.
The other candidate for the starting left guard job is Ramirez, who is now in his second stint with the Lions. He first played for them from 2007-10, but he spent the last four seasons with the Broncos. He was primarily a center and right guard in Denver, but with Travis Swanson and Larry Warford expected to start at those spots in Detroit, he will battle Tomlinson for the starting left guard job.
Who has the edge right now?
There's no question it's Tomlinson. The Lions didn't spend a first-round pick for him to be a backup offensive lineman. O-lineman can take some time to develop, and Ramirez did receive a lot of No. 1 reps in the spring, but the plan is undoubtedly for Tomlinson to be the starter by the time the regular season opens.