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How addition of OL Tyrell Crosby affects Detroit Lions roster

The Lions’ fifth-round pick could have big implications on the offensive line.

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions took Tyrell Crosby in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and fans and analysts were immediately confused as to where he’d play at the next level.

Crosby was announced by the team as a tackle, and all of his playing time was at either the right or left tackle in his three years at Oregon.

But many draft gurus project Crosby as a guard at the next level due to sloppy technique and tight hips. He’s also a devastator in the run game, earning Pro Football Focus’ ninth-best “run block success” grade according to their 2018 Draft Guide. So what does that mean for the Lions? Let’s look at the possibilities:

Backup tackle (either spots)

Last year, the Lions got into a lot of trouble when Taylor Decker tore his labrum. Detroit desperately traded for Greg Robinson, which was a failed experiment. Then they shuffled through Brian Mihalik, Dan Skipper, Emmett Cleary and Corey Robinson as the season rolled on and couldn’t find an adequate fill-in until Decker returned in November.

If the Lions view Crosby as a tackle, he would immediately jump to the first backup tackle position on the team. That would push Brian Mihalik and Corey Robinson down the depth chart, with one of them likely not making the team entirely.

Guard depth

The Lions suffered similar struggles last year when T.J. Lang and Travis Swanson suffered injuries. The Lions’ depth—Tim Lelito, Zac Kerin, Don Barclay, and Joe Dahl—was tested, and the inevitably failed.

Crosby has never played guard, so there may be a bit of a learning curve for the Oregon offensive lineman, but he would undoubtedly make the roster, and likely push a guy like Wesley Johnson and Leo Koloamatangi off the roster.

The big question here would be whether Crosby could eventually contend for a starting job here. The Lions are probably pretty happy with the interior of T.J. Lang, Frank Ragnow and Graham Glasgow, but if the trio has trouble gelling, Crosby could jump in and take over at guard.

Utility lineman

We all know how much Bob Quinn values versatility, and that could be Crosby’s best trait. Though he doesn’t have experience at guard, his strength and quickness make him a pretty good fill-in option at that position. As for his abilities at tackle, I’ll let Pro Football Focus, who ranked him as this class’s fourth-best tackle, describe the rest:

Multiple seasons of elite grades at both right and left tackle.

Thick, strong tackle who owns a power advantage against almost every defensive lineman he faced.

Run blocks with a mean streak. When his hand placement is on point he buries defensive linemen.

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