With the seventh overall pick in Thursday’s draft, the Detroit Lions are in a prime position to add a player that could become a franchise talent to kickstart a rebuild. Given the positional value and the talent in this year’s class, offensive tackles Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater are very real possibilities to land in Detroit.
But if you think for a second that current Lions left tackle Taylor Decker would be intimidated or concerned with the Lions adding an offensive lineman in this weekend’s draft, you couldn’t be more off base.
“Take all the linemen in the draft,” Decker said. “I love it because I’m an offensive lineman, and I see a lot of value in that position. I would love it. If we can add talent at any position wherever it may be, let’s do it.”
And while guys like Sewell or Slater could have a ceiling as a starting left tackle in the NFL, Decker isn’t worried about it.
“If you’re asking if I’m concerned about job? Um... no. I’m not.”
And there’s no real reason for Decker to be concerned, even if the Lions add a tackle in the first round. The Lions left tackle signed a four-year extension last year, and he’s coming off arguably his best season in the NFL, finishing just outside the top 10 in PFF grade (82.0, 12th) among all offensive tackles. His spot at left tackle is safe for 2021 and likely beyond.
Decker has been good and he knows it. That confidence is one of three reasons he gave for being open—and even excited—about the possibility of adding offensive line competition in the draft.
“Being confident in what you can do, controlling what you can control, and then knowing there’s other people that can add value outside of what you can do,” Decker explained.
If the Lions were to add Sewell or Slater, they would almost certainly start at right tackle, a position the Lions are still trying to figure out. Last month, head coach Dan Campbell said the team was “intrigued” by the possibility of moving Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a more permanent position at guard, while backup swing tackle Tyrell Crosby is on the final year of his contract and has been most effective coming off the bench.
So don’t be surprised if the Lions decide on an offensive tackle early in this year’s draft, and don’t be surprised if Decker welcomes them with open arms.