In the weeks leading up to Detroit Lions training camp, we’re going to do a position-by-position breakdown of where the roster stands. Our series continues with the Lions offensive guards.
(The final year of each player’s contract is listed in parentheses.)
Starters: Graham Glasgow (2019), T.J. Lang (2019)
Backups: Laken Tomlinson (2018), Joe Dahl (2019)
On the bubble: Brandon Thomas (2017)
Long shots: Matt Rotheram (2018)
Guard could be one of the positions that sees the most improvement in 2017. Though Larry Warford provided at least average play in his four years in Detroit, T.J. Lang has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for the better half of a decade. However, Lang is coming off hip surgery, and he has yet to take a rep in practice as a Detroit Lion. His health will be one of the biggest issues along the offensive line this year.
On the other side, Graham Glasgow is the likely starter. Glasgow started 11 games last year, but didn’t have one position on lockdown. He started at left guard as early as Week 6 in his rookie year, but finished as Detroit’s center when Travis Swanson suffered a concussion during the final month of the season. He graded out extremely poorly according to Pro Football Focus, ranking 70th out of 73 guards and 37th out of 38 centers. The hope is that Glasgow shows huge improvement in his second year in the league.
Detroit’s backup situation is more than acceptable. Former first-round pick Laken Tomlinson has a chance to compete for a starting job, but will likely enter the season as a backup for the first time. Additionally, former fifth-round pick Joe Dahl has a lot of buzz surrounding him as a prime candidate to make a big jump from his rookie year.
Need going forward?
For 2017, the Lions are all set. However, next year could be very interesting. If Detroit moves on from Travis Swanson, Glasgow is primed to move inside to center. That would leave a gaping hole at left guard. By then, Dahl could be ready to take over or it’s possible we see Tomlinson rebound in a big way. Either way, if Swanson is out, the Lions will probably need, at the very least, additional depth. Otherwise, pending any injuries, the Lions are in a pretty good place at guard for the next three years.