The Lions Could Look To Add Depth To The Offensive Line In The Draft.
Detroit’s interior offensive line play has been up and down this season, in part due to injuries. Adding depth to this area of the depth chart would be wise for that reason alone.
Also starting center Travis Swanson will be a free agent after this season. The Lions may look to the 2018 draft to find his replacement.
2018 Draft Class Options- Interior Offensive Line
This year there are pretty clear cut best players at the guard and center position. There are also plenty of solid players who can play multiple positions along the offensive line.
These are three players the Lions could take a look at:
Quenton Nelson- Notre Dame
Nelson is not only the top interior offensive line prospects in this draft class, he’s one of the best players at any position. He is as dominant as any player in the country.
At 6’5” and 330 lbs., Nelson has plenty of size. He is also an outstanding athlete. Defenders have a really tough time beating Nelson on any play.
Run blocking is probably where Nelson performs best. His outstanding size and strength allows him to dominante his opponent on a regular basis. He keeps his pad level low and always aims to finish blocks. And when he pancakes his defender he always finds another one to take on. His athleticism makes it easy for him to get to the second level.
Nelson is no slouch as a pass blocker either. He anchors well and rarely gets pushed back by defenders. The Notre Dame star is also a very smart player who understands what the defense is doing. Simply put, Nelson rarely makes mistakes.
Billy Price- Ohio State
Price has started every game during his Ohio State career. He played guard for his first three seasons and moved to center to replace current Minnesota Vikings center Pat Elflein. Price may have ended up outplaying Elflein.
The Ohio State senior is listed at 6’4” and 312 lbs. He is a very reliable player in pass protection. Price has a strong lower half and keeps a wide base which makes it difficult for defenders to move him.
As a run blocker Price has a nonstop motor who looks to finish blocks and then find another defender to take on. He is not as dominant as a run blocker as Nelson but he is still pretty solid. He is very reliable and always knows what he is supposed to be doing.
One knock on Price is that he doesn’t have great arm length. This could cause some issues in terms winning the hands battle but it hasn’t hurt him up to this point.
Mason Cole- Michigan
Cole has been a contributor for Michigan’s offense every season that he’s been in Ann Arbor. The 6’5” 305 lbs. senior is extremely versatile. He played left tackle this season but has also seen time at guard and center in his career. His spot in the NFL with likley be on the interior of the offensive line.
In pass protection, Cole does a very good job at staying balanced and keeping a strong base. He is also smart enough to know who is the most important guy for him to block on every play.
As a run blocker, Cole seems to always get the job done. He doesn’t usually blow guys off the ball but still manages to get the blocks he needs to get.
One thing Cole needs to do is put on some more weight. This will more than likely make him stronger and and even better run blocker.