A Countdown Of The Top 20 Impact Players For The 2018 Detroit Lions
#20 – Rick Wagner
When Wagner became the highest paid right tackle in football last season Lions fans expected him to perform to that level – why wouldn’t they? Unfortunately, 2017 wasn’t quite the year Wagner or fans were hoping for. In fact, it was a poor year by his standards considering his play in previous seasons. Wagner missed three games in December with an ankle injury. Even before that, he didn’t look comfortable; he struggled both with health and adapting to a new blocking scheme.
2018 needs to be a good year for Wagner as a further improvement on the offensive line with Frank Ragnow has given the group top-five potential in terms of talent. Also having a new offensive line co-ordinator will hopefully give Wagner the boost he needs to improve this year. Keeping Stafford upright will be key to the team’s success going forward in 2018 and Rick Wagner will play a huge part in making that happen.
If he stays in good health for the 2018 season I think we’ll see more of why Wagner was given the largest right tackle contract in the NFL. One thing that can be overlooked is that the line was a mishmash of players for a lot of last season and that will affect the line’s play as a whole (the Cowboys giving Adrian Clayborn six sacks in one game is a prime example). Going into the new season having Wagner and Lang anchoring the right-hand side of the line and having NFL starter caliber players in all five starting positions should make the unit a very proficient one in the upcoming campaign.