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2015 Detroit Lions roster review: Offensive tackle

A look back at how the Lions' offensive tackles performed in 2015 and a look ahead to 2016.

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As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2015. Next, let's take a look at the Detroit Lions' offensive tackles. (Note: Numbers for sacks, QB hits and QB hurries allowed are from Pro Football Focus.)

Riley Reiff

2015 stats: 16 games (16 starts) | Allowed 6 sacks, 7 QB hits, 38 QB hurries
2016 status: Signed through 2016

Reiff was expected to take a big step forward in 2015 but the results didn't pan out. While he did a moderate job at blocking the run, Reiff had his worst year in pass protection. Not much went right at the offensive tackle position for the Lions in 2015, and Reiff is a shining example of why. Reiff has the third-biggest cap hit of the team in 2016 ($8.07 million), so the Lions could choose to move on (with no cap hit). However, common sense says to give him another year and decide what to do with him after his contract expires.

Michael Ola

2015 stats: 9 games (7 starts) | Allowed 2 sacks, 1 QB hit, 13 QB hurries
2016 status: Signed through 2016

Ola was claimed by the Lions in the middle of October, after the Chargers waived him for their roster. For a mid-season acquisition, Ola performed just about as well as anyone could expect. He wasn't spectacular, but his play added a bit of consistency that was completely lost on the right side of the line for the first half of the season.

LaAdrian Waddle

2015 stats: 8 games (6 starts) | Allowed 5 sacks, 6 QB hits, 24 QB hurries
2016 status: Cut and signed by Patriots, currently restricted free agent

Waddle's time with the Detroit Lions came to an end in 2015. His poor play and inability to stay healthy made him a liability of a roster spot. When Waddle did manage to make the starting lineup, his play proved he was either not healthy or not talented enough to be on the field. Waddle was easily the poorest graded Lions tackle of 2015 despite only playing in 8 games.

Cornelius Lucas

2015 stats: 15 games (3 starts) | Allowed 1 sack, 3 QB hits, 13 QB hurries
2016 status: Signed through 2016

Lucas started at right tackle for the first three weeks, while Waddle continued to recover from his offseason surgery. Apparently his play was not good enough to ever earn that starting job again, because while Waddle continued to struggle, the Lions opted to eventually start Ola over Lucas. Lucas occasionally got time when the Lions lined up with a third offensive tackle, but for the most part, his contributions were over after Week 3.

Corey Robinson

2015 stats: 1 game (0 starts)
2016 status: Signed through 2018

Robinson was one of the most surprising players to make the final 53-man roster back in September. The seventh-round pick managed to stay off the practice squad all year, but was only active for one game. Considering all of the trouble the Lions had at the tackle position, the fact that Robinson stayed on the roster but was almost never part of the gameday lineup is a bit puzzling.

Outlook for 2016

The Lions need to upgrade the tackle position drastically. Detroit could theoretically start Reiff and Ola in 2016, but they need to start thinking about backup plans. Of the four tackles currently signed to the Lions, three of their contracts expire after 2016 and the other is a seventh-round pick who never saw the field during his rookie year. A big decision on Reiff looms next year, but the Lions need to start planning now.

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