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Lions: We'll be OK at right tackle if Waddle can't go

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Cornelius Lucas

Allen Park — The Lions entered this offseason hoping to upgrade the offensive tackle position, but with training camp quickly approaching, it appears Cornelius Lucas likely will start at right tackle if LaAdrian Waddle isn't healthy for Week 1.

And coach Jim Caldwell said Friday the Lions should be fine with that scenario.

"I think all in all, we're going to be all right," he said of the right tackle position. "Lucas played a lot of football for us and played well. He had his ups and downs, but he played well. And we've got some young guys that are going to be all right, too."

Left tackle Riley Reiff, Waddle and Lucas are the only players with NFL experience on the roster. The Lions hosted veteran Gosder Cherilus, their first-round pick in 2008, on a free-agent visit Thursday, but did not sign him to a deal. They could still look to add a veteran tackle after seeing how their young players perform early in camp.

Waddle (knee) will start camp Monday on the physically unable to perform list. The team is optimistic he'll be healthy for Week 1, and based on his 10 starts last year and eight in 2013, he's the best option at right tackle.

Lucas started three games — one at left tackle, two at right — as an undrafted rookie last year but appeared in 15 games. He also started at right tackle in the postseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Behind Waddle and Lucas, the Lions have seventh-round pick Corey Robinson, but his draft position is no guarantee he'll make the roster. Michael Williams is in his second year of playing tackle after converting from tight end, and Xavier Proctor made the switch from defensive tackle to offensive tackle this offseason.

The Lions will employ an offensive line with at least two new starters this year, and Caldwell said he's "very interested" to see how the group works together in camp.

"It's going to be a lot of fun watching those guys develop, and it's going to be some pretty good battles against the defense as well," he said. "You've got a defense that's out to prove itself, and so we've got a lot of guys in the middle of that defense that are going to really challenge one another. It's going to be fun."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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