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Roster impact of the Detroit Lions selecting OL Colby Sorsdal

The Detroit “Lions just got the sleeper in the draft (in) Colby Sorsdal.” — Offensive line guru Duke Manyweather.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 William & Mary at East Carolina Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a whirlwind first two days in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions stood pat on Day 3 and waited for their next pick to come to them. With pick No. 152 in the fifth round, they selected offensive lineman Colby Sorsdal.

Sorsdal has played 1866 snaps over 46 starts at right tackle at W&M, but a possible move inside to guard may be in his future. Last season, Sorsdal led the Griffins' offensive line, and they surrendered a minuscule 0.77 sacks per game.

His senior year performance earned him an invitation to the East-West Shrine All-star game and there was where he first met with the Lions. The Lions would follow up with him at his Pro Day and also met with him virtually, where they would further their relationship.

Following his selection by the Lions, fans (and some writers) began feverishly searching for more information about Sorsdal, who was listed by most draft analysts as a potential undrafted free agent. But once again, this is a situation where we see general manager Brad Holmes ignoring media perceptions and simply trusting that he and his staff have done their homework.

While Holmes has a terrific hit rate on draft picks, sometimes it takes a few more opinions from analysts you trust to really sell you on a player. When it comes to offensive line evaluation, there are a few analysts that separate themselves from the pack with their consistently accurate analysis. Brandon Thorn of Trench Warfare is at the top, but he frequently associates himself with former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz and private OL guru trainer Duke Manyweather.

Immediately following the selection of Sorsdal by the Lions, Manyweather expressed his joy on social media:

Manyweather isn’t the only analyst expressing their excitement over the pick. Eric Galko, director of operations for the East-West Shrine Bowl, tweeted how he and Manyweather felt like Sorsdal improved his stock at the All-Star game.

Another Sorsdal stan is NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger—also a former NFL offensive lineman—who posted a video at the beginning of the month.

“He dominated his level of competition,” Baldinger said. “Physically dominated people. That’s what you want to see. He’s got size, he’s got good movement, and he throws guys off the screen. And then you watch him—and it’s kinda what you want. You want a guy who has a little bit of goon in him. Just never ever hear the whistle. Like, you go and you finish. But that’s what you see from him... I believe he is a Day 3 draft pick, that can end up starting at guard or tackle for you. I mean, you’ve got to get these kind of guys. You’ve got to find them.”

Roster fit

Sorsdal’s versatility to play at right tackle and guard will give him an upper hand to land a spot on the roster, but he will still have to earn it against a deep group of offensive linemen.

If he sticks at right tackle, Sorsdal’s chief competition will be second-string right tackle Matt Nelson—who was re-signed to a 1-year deal this offseason—and second-string left tackle Obinna Eze, who was a high-profile UDFA last season, but spent the year learning on the practice squad.

If he kicks inside to right guard, Sorsdal will face off against reserves Kayode Awosika, Logan Stenberg, and Darrin Paulo. If he can jump ahead of them on the depth chart, Graham Glasgow and Halapoulivaati Vaiti stand in his way of the starting job at right guard.

But in all likelihood, Sorsdal was drafted with the future in mind. Of all the players mentioned above, Eze and Awoskia will be exclusive rights free agents in 2024, while Glasgow, Vaitai, Stenberg, and Nelson are all set to become unrestricted free agents.

If Sorsdal sticks at tackle, he could be in line for an OT3 and sixth offensive lineman role, and if he kicks inside, he could be in competition for a 2024 starting role.

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