Day 1 of the NFL combine is in the books, with quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends completing their on-field portion of the pre-draft process. Next up - running backs and offensive linemen - with coverage starting at 4 p.m. ET on NFL Network.
In case you missed it, we previewed both of today’s position groups:
Now that the quarterbacks have thrown and the pass catchers have run, we are curious:
Who will you be keeping an eye on during Day 2 of on-field drills?
While offensive line and running back are two of the Detroit Lions’ stronger areas, there is always room for improvement.
Sure, the Lions currently have far more pressing needs. To name a few - wide receiver, EDGE rusher, off-ball linebacker - are likely greater priorities in the minds of coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes.
But when you look beyond 2022, that is where roster construction becomes tricky, and allocating resources properly pays major dividends down the road. For instance, after the 2022 season, running back Jamaal Williams is an unrestricted free agent, with D’Andre Swift only signed through the 2023 season. And while the offensive line looks set now, the Lions could potentially part ways with right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai in a cap savings move after next season.
I don’t think taking a running back on Day 3 is out of the question, but I will be focusing my attention on the big fellas and how they move around on Friday.
My answer: Darian Kinnard, RG/RT, Kentucky
In our offensive line preview, my choice to follow during the combine was Zion Johnson - a powerful, yet nimble, guard prospect out of Boston College. And while I would be ecstatic if the Lions were to draft Johnson, I am shifting my focus to Kinnard for a few reasons.
I believe Kinnard is a more realistic target for a Lions team that has more glaring needs than using one of their first three or four picks on an offensive linemen. Having been on the Lions’ Senior Bowl roster, the coaching staff got a good, long look at at the University of Kentucky prospect. Possessing powerful hands and hips, Kinnard would be an immediate upgrade over Matt Nelson as a swing tackle and as a spot-starter. And surely Dan Campbell has had visions of lining Kinnard up outside either Penei Sewell or Taylor Decker when the Lions opt to go with their jumbo offensive sets.
If the Lions decide to save nearly $8 million by cutting Vaitai after the 2022 season, it would be nice to have someone like Kinnard waiting to step up in 2023 and beyond.
What do you all think? Let us know who you will be watching in the comments.