The Detroit Lions head into training camp with an experienced offensive line that includes four returning starters.
The Detroit Lions had their best offensive line in years, and it figures to remain dangerous with continuity as an advantage.
Four of their starters will be returning for the upcoming season. This starts on the left side with Riley Reiff entering his second season as the Lions’ full-time starting left tackle. Reiff continued to be a solid run blocker, but his pass-blocking skills are in need of improvement.
Rob Sims is returning for his fifth season as the Lions’ starting left guard, and he is looking to bounce back from a forgettable 2013 season. Although the former Seahawk did well at pass blocking, his run blocking regressed.
Dominic Raiola will remain the Lions’ starting center, and he will start at center in Detroit for the 13th consecutive season. The 35-year-old has made all 16 of his starts in every season since 2002 except the historically awful 2008 season. The veteran had an excellent 2013 season for the Lions.
Larry Warford is entering his second season as the Lions’ starting right guard, and he turned out be a draft-day steal after being selected in the third round. The former Kentucky Wildcat did not allow a sack in his rookie season.
Right tackle is the only question mark along the Lions’ offensive line. LaAdrian Waddle and Corey Hilliard will battle for the job. Jason Fox, who made three starts last season, left for the Miami Dolphins.
Waddle is the favorite to win the job after making eight starts, but Hilliard also showed enough promise to draw consideration as the starter.
Center Travis Swanson was drafted in the third round, and he is expected to be Raiola’s long-term successor. At worst, he will provide quality depth at the center position.
Rodney Austin will also be a key reserve for the Lions, and he has the ability to play both guard and center.
The Lions are expected to make room for a ninth lineman as well, and guard Garrett Reynolds was signed to provide depth along the line. Reynolds has previous starting experience for the Atlanta Falcons. Although the former fifth-round pick struggled as a starter, he will thrive as a reserve.
The Lions’ offensive line will be a team strength, and they have ensured that there is quality depth as they head into training camp. They will likely keep eight or nine on the active roster.