Former 3rd Round Pick From Michigan Could Lead to Changes at the Guard Position
Detroit had questions about the offensive line coming into the 2016 season. They needed help at the left tackle spot and possibly at center too. In the first round they drafted Taylor Decker to solidify the left tackle position and took Graham Glasgow in the third round to give Travis Swanson some competition at his position. Seven weeks into the regular season and both Decker and Glasgow are starting, just not exactly as the front office planned. Decker has been the left tackle, and a good one at that. Glasgow on the other hand, is back to his old stomping grounds at guard. Travis Swanson has stepped up at the center position and has been what we expected out of him. That led Graham Glasgow to transition back to the guard spot that needed some dire help.
Is Glasgow Permanently at Left Guard?
With Swanson improving and being a good center, that leaves the question of whether or not Glasgow will remain a backup? Detroit was having some issues with Laken Tomlinson and in the middle of the Eagles game we saw Tomlinson get benched and Glasgow came in to his spot and did well. Tomlinson this year has allowed three and a half sacks and gotten himself three penalties. Glasgow in his spot has only one penalty.
Against the Rams in week six, Larry Warford missed the game so Glasgow started at left guard and Laken Tomlinson was at right guard. People assumed that Tomlinson moved to the right because he was better at that side and because Warford was hurt.
Well, in the game against the Redskins, we saw Glasgow at left guard and Warford was back from injury at the right guard position. Now, according to many reports and beat writers, Tomlinson lost his starting left guard job and is now the backup right guard. This is interesting for Detroit to give up on the first round pick from last season already and move him to a backup position. While the move is necessary as Tomlinson’s play did affect the offensive performance, it isn’t good to see another first round pick possibly going to waste.
Larry Warford’s Future with Detroit
Here is where Tomlinson can possibly have longevity. Larry Warford is on his contract year with the Lions. He impressed his rookie year and looked like a stud and a steal for the Lions. He never allowed a sack and only had three flags all year in 2013. Since then he has allowed seven sacks and gotten four penalties. There are worse guards out there in the NFL, but Warford still isn’t the best.
Detroit may end up letting Warford walk after this year as he could expect more money than he is worth. That is where Tomlinson can shine. He fits better at right guard since he is a run blocker and maybe starting at a position he can show off his strength in would show his worth as a first round pick. The whole situation will depend on how Warford and Glasgow perform for the rest of the year. If Glasgow seems to be as good as he plays right now and Warford re-signs on a fair deal, Tomlinson may never start again for the Lions. If that situation comes to light, Detroit may want to trade him and get something in return for him.
For now, the offensive line is doing better than last year and even the little improvements it has made this year has given Stafford more life as he isn’t getting sacked. It is giving him time to throw to his receivers and while the rush game isn’t healthy, it is slowly improving and if Detroit can bring Riddick and Washington back soon it could give a new wrinkle in the playbook.