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2020 NFL Combine preview: Offensive tackles the Detroit Lions should watch

With Taylor Decker’s future uncertain and no secure option at right tackle, the Lions are sure to be paying close attention to OT at the Combine.

North Carolina State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions entered 2019 with no questions at offensive tackle, but left it with questions at both. Taylor Decker faces his final year as a Detroit Lion if he is not extended, while the situation at right tackle is somehow even more grim. After a strong start in the Motor City, Rick Wagner had easily his worst season as a pro before again going down with injury. Tyrell Crosby did a little better, but has injury concerns of his own coming out of Oregon and isn’t a sure bet going forward.

That leaves an opportunity for the Lions to aggressively pursue a tackle if they want to upgrade either position this offseason. The only real concern is that the drop off from the first group of the tackles is fairly steep, meaning the chance to miss out on a top prospect is much higher unless the team spends their top pick on one.

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Note: All RAS links will be updated during and after the Combine with official and tentative metrics. This will continue throughout the draft season.

Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Andrew Thomas RAS

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Thomas’ run blocking is going to endear him to coaches like Darrell Bevell immediately, and it’s not surprising many consider Thomas the top tackle in the class. He’s not a perfect prospect, few are, and he’s going to have a bit of a growing period as he makes the leap to the NFL. To that point, he’s also likely going to be a left tackle in the NFL, so for the Lions that means adjustment at both tackle positions instead of just one.

Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama

Jedrick Wills RAS

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An excellent right tackle in college, Wills got better seemingly with every snap he took for Alabama. Powerful as a tank and just as dangerous for opposing rushers, Wills is going to be a favorite at Combine interviews due to his killer mentality and absolute ruthlessness as a blocker. He’s the kind of guy an offensive line coach pounds the table for. Doesn’t project as a left tackle and may have some trouble transitioning there, with the importance of right tackles rising every year, it’s a bit surprising we don’t hear about Wills as OT1 from more folk.

Mekhi Becton, Louisville

Mekhi Becton RAS

Scouting ReportsThe Draft Network | NFL Mocks | BrownsWire | The Draft Network | MSN | NFL Draft Geek | Pro Football Ready | Mekhi Becton | Bucs Report | Tankathon | This player is a prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. All metrics that have been recorded are unofficial if the metric is highlighted...

At around 6-feet-7 inches and nearly 370 pounds, Mekhi Becton is massive even by the lofty standards of an offensive tackle. Incredibly athletic for his size, Becton is going to be one of the most interesting players to watch at the Combine. Even average numbers for a tackle would be insane for how big Becton is, and he’s likely going to be OT1 for some teams if he isn’t already with a strong Combine showing.

Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn

Prince Tega Wanogho RAS

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Prince Tega Wanogho is an ideal developmental tackle who shows very promising athletic traits on tape. His length is excellent and he uses it well but struggles with functional strength at time and needs some work with an NFL offensive line coach to improve there. Could start immediately in the NFL, but I suspect he will struggle for the first couple of years while his body develops to where it needs to be. Extremely raw in many areas, this is a very high upside but very low floor prospect.

Tristan Wirfs, Iowa

Tristan Wirfs RAS

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Hyped as one of the best athletes in this class, Tristan Wirfs comes from a program known for churning out offensive line talent. Expected to start at right tackle in the NFL, Wirfs is going to be loved by coaches who focus on running the football but his ability to match up with athletic pass rushers is what should keep him starting in the NFL. With how well the Lions ran power schemes despite injuries in 2019, Wirfs would be an excellent addition to this team and would plug in immediately on the right side... or flip inside for a season if the team thinks that would be of more immediate benefit.

The Others

Alex Taylor, South Carolina State (RAS)

Has the size and length that most teams covet and seems to be plenty athletic, but functional strength will turn some teams off.

Austin Jackson, Southern California (RAS)

Good size, length, and athletic traits (including play strength) on tape, Jackson is a bit of a project based on his hand usage and agility.

Ben Bartch, St. Johns (RAS)

Promising small-school prospect who absolutely mauls opponents at times, is more of a run blocker than a pass blocker at this time and is going to take some time to get up to NFL speed.

Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon (RAS)

Showed at the Senior Bowl how much of a project he’s going to be, Throckmorton has some promising developmental traits but will need a significant time investment.

Cameron Clark, Charlotte (RAS)

Like several Charlotte lineman of the last few years, is more of a mauler in the run game than a pass blocker, hinting at some need for development in the pass game.

Charlie Heck, North Carolina (RAS)

Great size, but not overly athletic or technically refined on tape.

Colton McKivitz, West Virginia (RAS)

Good strength and hand usage, but needs to show more athletic talent at the Combine to have a chance to stick.

Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (RAS)

Shows very promising athletic traits on tape but doesn’t have the technique to back it up. Needs a lot of work and coaching.

Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas (RAS)

Undersized and didn’t show much positional upside that I saw, could find more success inside if he improves his functional strength.

Isaiah Wilson, Georgia (RAS)

Huge tackle with a mean streak and excellent motor, Wilson has heavy feet which suggest struggles at the Combine, so it’s a big week for him.

Jack Driscoll, Auburn (RAS)

Undersized but thickly built, Driscoll looks like a guard and may end up playing there for several schemes in the NFL.

Jon Runyan, Michigan (RAS)

Primarily a run blocker, Runyan is probably going to be moved to the right side in the NFL as his pass blocking on the left leaves much to be desired.

Josh Jones, Houston (RAS)

Impressive athleticism and movement skills on tape, Jones is one of the top tackles in this class despite needing to work on his footwork quite a bit.

Justin Herron, Wake Forest (RAS)

Seems to have decent length despite being shorter than a normal tackle and is fairly mobile for the position. Not much use as a run blocker and needs a lot of development there.

Lucas Niang, Texas Christian (RAS)

Played through injury in 2019, so questionable athleticism on tape may be answered at the Combine if he’s fully healthy.

Matthew Peart, Connecticut (RAS)

Has the requisite length teams crave at tackle but doesn’t have the technique to make the best use of it.

Robert Hunt, Louisiana (RAS)

Some project him inside to guard, and he’d fit there for Lions, but I think he has the athletic toolset to remain outside at right tackle.

Saahdiq Charles, Louisiana State (RAS)

A player with a lot of developmental upside, but requiring much of that development to occur once he’s drafted.

Terence Steele, Texas Tech (RAS)

Good pass protector but gets beaten with strength by players he should easily destroy.

Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson (RAS)

Severely undersized and lacking both length and aggression, Anchrum has a lot of questions that need answering at the Combine.

Trey Adams, Washington (RAS)

Injuries have been the story of his college career and will be the biggest indicator of what he’s able to accomplish in the NFL.

Tyre Phillips, Mississippi State (RAS)

Primarily a run blocker, his issues in pass protection may lead to him being moved inside where some of his problems may be mitigated somewhat.

Yasir Durant, Missouri (RAS)

Tall and hefty for the position, Durant shows good athleticism on tape but doesn’t have the length his size would suggest.