We haven’t talked much about the possibility of the Detroit Lions taking an offensive lineman with their first-round pick, but it’s probably something we should at least address.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, former Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams said he has a formal interview with the Lions at the NFL Combine this week.
You know how much Bob Quinn likes OL. Well, Alabama’s Jonah Williams said he believes he has a formal interview with the Lions scheduled tonight. Potential top 10 pick.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) February 28, 2019
The Lions also have a formal tonight with Elon’s Oli Udoh.
They might be in the market for a new RG.
Williams is pretty much the unanimous top offensive tackle prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, even though some are concerned about his short arm length, which was confirmed by Combine measurements this week (33 5/8 inches). Some believe those short arms may project him better as an NFL guard, though most believe he’ll be just fine at tackle, as his arm length isn’t drastically short, passing the generally-accepted 33-inch threshold.
The Detroit Lions don’t have a pressing need at offensive tackle at this year, but they could potentially use a guard. T.J. Lang’s status with the team remains up in the air, and even if Detroit keeps him around for another season, Lang’s contract is up after 2019 and he’s on the wrong side of 30.
Additionally, Lions general manager Bob Quinn needs to do his due diligence with the top offensive line prospect. Not only will it give him a better idea of how other team’s may view him as a top prospect, but if Quinn comes from the NFL Combine blown away by Williams, it’s not unrealistic for him to be the pick at eighth overall.
While the Lions are set with Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner at the tackle positions for 2019, the team is not committed to either long term. Wagner is signed through 2021, but he could be a potential cap casualty as early as 2020. As for Taylor Decker, the Lions have yet to exercise his fifth-year option (they have until May), so his contract could potentially end by the end of the 2019 season.
This news far from guarantees the Lions will take an offensive linemen early in the draft, but the fact that Quinn is using one of a limited amount of interviews on Williams is certainly notable.