Lions training camp position previews: Offensive line

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Laken Tomlinson

This is the fourth in a series of position previews ahead of the start of Lions training camp on Monday.


After having Dominic Raiola at center the last 13 seasons and Rob Sims at left guard the last five, the Lions' offensive line is in the midst of a youth movement.

Assuming first-round pick Laken Tomlinson wins the left guard job in training camp, the Lions likely will have a starting line with five players 26 or younger.

The overhaul follows a 2014 season in which Matthew Stafford took a career-high 45 sacks. The Lions also averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, so the hope is a more athletic group can create more long run plays.

Riley Reiff will remain at left tackle in his fourth season, Larry Warford will be the right guard in his third year and Travis Swanson, a third-round pick last year, should take over for Raiola.

The other two spots are theoretically open for competition in camp. Tomlinson will compete with veteran Manny Ramirez at left guard, and even though Ramirez earned the majority of first-team reps this summer, Tomlinson should see increasingly more during camp.

LaAdrian Waddle remains the top option at right tackle, but if his knee injury lingers, Cornelius Lucas should open the season there. The Lions could still add a veteran offensive tackle to improve depth at that spot, too.

Roster locks: T Riley Reiff, T LaAdrian Waddle, T Cornelius Lucas, G Larry Warford, G Laken Tomlinson (R), C Travis Swanson, G/C Manny Ramirez.

Bubble: T Corey Robinson (R), T Michael Williams, T Xavier Proctor, G Darren Keyton, G Torrian Wilson (R), G Al Bond (R), C Taylor Boggs, C Braxston Cave.

Roster spots: Eight

Top camp competition: Tomlinson will most likely be the Week 1 starter at left guard, but Ramirez said he'll do everything possible to earn a starting job.

Rookie outlook: In addition to Tomlinson, Robinson must play well in the preseason to earn a roster spot. Wilson and Bond should push for a practice squad job.

Breakout candidate: Swanson. He impressed in one start at center last year and is significantly more athletic than Raiola.