Sunday, February 19, 2012

Five to Watch: Offensive Linemen

This is the first part of a five part series leading up to the 2012 combine. Keep an eye out this week for each article examining prospects the Detroit Lions may be interested in drafting come April.

Mock drafts abound in our post-Super Bowl slump as we eagerly await the 2012 draft. The combine is this coming weekend and promises to shake up everyone's boards.

The Lions' offensive line could look exactly the same as last year, but it is the unit most likely to have a major overhaul due to injuries, age, and lack of talent. I anticipate the Lions will bring back Backus on a one or two year contract so there isn't a gaping hole at Left Tackle, but the Lions will be adding players to push for starting spots on the line this year.

Wisconsin Center Peter Konz, Ohio Tackle Mike Adams, and Georgia Guard Cordy Glenn have been mocked to the Lions, but here are some players that are borderline first round or possible second or third round picks the Lions could use to bolster their aging offensive line:

Ben Jones C, Georgia (6'3", 316)

If Jones falls to the Lions in the second round they could have a great player on their hands. He fits their power blocking scheme and would have a year or two to develop behind Raiola who is signed through 2013.

Andrew Datko OT, Florida State (6'6", 321)

Datko would be in a similar situation as Jones such that he would have the chance to develop for a year or two behind Backus should the Lions bring him back. If Lions opt not to re-sign Backus, Datko could start but isn't an elite talent who still needs to develop as pass blocker.

Brandon Washington OG, Miami (6'4", 320)

Stephen Peterman is signed through 2013, but I have a hard time believing he would be able to hold off Brandon Washington for a whole season. The Lions desperately need improved guard play in the run game and Washington could be the answer.

Amini Silatolu OG, Midwestern State (6'3", 324)

Silatolu played Left Tackle at Midwestern State but would most likely play guard in the NFL. Silatolu would provide versatility as a backup until he developed into a starter at guard.

Brandon Brooks OG, Miami (OH) (6'5", 343)

Brooks would also be a versatile back up as he has experience at Left Tackle and both guard positions. He excels at run and pass blocking and just needs some time to work on his technique. Brooks would push Peterman for his starting spot possibly as early as training camp.

Coverage of Offensive Linemen workouts begins at 9:00am on Saturday, February 25 on the NFL Network and

Are there any other linemen in the draft that we should be keeping an eye on? Leave a comment and let everyone know who you're looking forward to seeing this weekend.

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