Lions May Look To Improve At Offensive Tackle This Coming Draft.
The offensive line has improved this season for the Detroit Lions. Rookie left tackle Taylor Decker has done a good job and looks to have a bright future. Right tackle Riley Reiff has also been doing well.
On paper the Lions don’t need to draft a tackle in the 2017 draft. However Reiff’s contract expires after this season. Signing him won’t be cheap.
The Lions will likely try to keep Reiff around long-term. However there is a possibility that the team let’s Reiff walk in order to save as much money as possible for Matthew Stafford’s massive upcoming contract. And if that happens the Lions will need to replace him and they could try to do that through the draft.
2017 Draft Class: Offensive Tackle
Offensive tackle is one of the weakest position’s in the 2017 draft class. There probably won’t be an offensive tackle taken early in the first round, unless one of the prospects stock rises quite a bit between now and the draft or some team reaches.
None of these prospects look like they are going to be future all-pro left tackles, but there are guys who could step in and be solid right tackles. For the Lions that’s fine since as mentioned Taylor Decker has shown promise protecting Stafford’s blind side.
The tackles that will be focused on are Alabama’s Cam Robinson, Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk, and Michigan’s Erik Magnuson.
Robinson probably has the most potential of any of the tackles in the 207 draft class. At 6’6” and 305 pounds he has the size to play in the NFL. He has experience under his belt as well, the junior has started every game that Alabama has played in since he has arrived on campus. Over that time Robinson has had to face off against a lot of NFL talent and he has stood his ground.
The first thing that will stand out about Robinson when you watch him is that he is an outstanding run blocker. He is a strong guy who gives effort on every play. He moves defenders at will most of the time. Although he isn’t a great athlete he is a good enough athlete to get to the second level and get down field blocks. He can even pull and be a lead blocker from time to time.
Robinson is decent in pass protection. He has shown that he can be a very good pass blocker, he did a very good job against the top prospect in the draft Myles Garrett when their teams faced off.
The reason that Robinson is a dominant pass blocker is sometimes he relies on his strength and athleticism and doesn’t use great technique. He gets caught off-balance occasionally which leads to him getting beat.
The biggest red flag for Robinson comes off the field however. In May, Robinson was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen firearm and possession of marijuana. The charges were dropped however because the district attorney decided they wouldn’t be able to prove that the gun or marijuana was Robinson’s since there was also three other people in the car.
In short NFL teams will have to weigh risk and reward while evaluating Robinson. But if a team decides that he is worth the risk, which some team may, they will get a talented offensive tackle.
A good game to watch Robinson is November 26th against Auburn.
Ryan Ramczyk- Wisconsin
Ramczyk has had an interesting career up to this point. He was offered a scholarship to Pittsburgh but declined it because he wasn’t interested in playing college football at the time. He was thinking about becoming a welder. After a year of not playing football he decided that he wanted to play again and joined the University of Wisconsin Stevens-Point football team, a Division III team.
After two years of dominating the Division III level he transferred to Wisconsin and had to sit out a year because of the NCAA transfer rules. This season Ramczyk has stepped in as the starting left tackle and has performed incredibly well for the Badgers.
Ramczyk is a very good athlete for the position. He also has good size, standing 6’6” and weighing 314 pounds. The junior is a very good run blocker. His athleticism allows him to get blocks down the field with ease .
As a pass blocker Ramczyk does a great job of keeping his quarterback clean. He sometimes allows some pressure against speed rushers but recovers well enough to make up for it.
As for weaknesses he sometimes allows speed rushers to beat him off the ball but he rarely allows them to actually get to the quarterback. He is athletic enough to catch up to them and push them down field which allows the quarterback to step up into the pocket.
Another weakness is that he has limited experience against high level competition. This shouldn’t be an issue however since he has performed well against good competition this season.
The best opportunity to see Ramczyk in action is November 26th against Minnesota.
Erik Magnuson- Michigan
Magnuson isn’t quite as good of a prospect as either Robinson or Ramczyk but he is still a pretty good player. Unlike the other two, Magnuson play right tackle at Michigan. He is a redshirt senior this season which means that he has had some years to develop as a player under Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
When you watch Magnuson play he won’t blow you away but you will see a quality player who does his job on a routine basis. At 6’6” and 305 pounds he has NFL size. He is a pretty solid blocker against the run and pass. He does a good job of keeping his pad level low off the snap. Also he does a great job of driving his feet and giving effort until the whistle.
One weakness for Magnuson is that he has a habit of occasionally lowering his head which causes him to lose sight of his target. Also he sometimes lets pass rushers get him off-balance which makes it much easier for them to beat him.
Another thing that NFL teams will be concerned about the fact that he plays on the right side of the line instead of the left side where the best tackle usually plays.
Magnuson isn’t going to be a 1st or likely not even a 2nd round pick. He could be a guy that the Lions draft as depth even if they re-sign Riley Reiff.
The best game to watch Magnuson is November 26th when the Wolverines head to Columbus for their annual matchup against Ohio State.