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The Detroit Lions are likely in the market for a starting interior offensive lineman this offseason, one who can play either guard or center. And for his second consecutive mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay believes the team will look to fill that void in the first round of the NFL draft.
Last month, McShay mocked Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn to the Lions. This time, it’s Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams.
Unlike Wynn, who had experience playing guard during his collegiate career, Williams served as a three-year starter on the blindside for the Longhorns, making his ability to successfully transition to the inside purely hypothetical.
Williams is also coming off a season where he missed seven games with a knee injury.
“Even with Ezekiel Ansah tagged, Detroit could use help at defensive end, but there isn’t the value here,” McShay writes. “Instead, the Lions should turn their attention to keep Matthew Stafford upright. Williams is an athletic pass-protector and played left tackle in college. With shorter arms (33 inches), he might be a better fit inside at guard in the pros. Williams missed nearly all of this past season at Texas because of a knee injury, so how his medicals check out will be vital to his stock.”
The 6-foot-5, 296-pound Williams had a strong showing at the combine last week, showing top-end athleticism for his position. He posted one of the fastest 40-yard dashes among offensive linemen, as well as top vertical and broad jump results.
Among the players McShay had the Lions passing on at No. 20 were Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan and two interior offensive linemen, All-American UTEP guard Will Hernandez and Ohio State’s Billy Price.
Price suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle during the combine.
Also absent from McShay’s mock draft is Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. During combine medical evaluations, an irregular EKG prevented him from participating in the event. His draft stock will continue to be anchored until he’s medically cleared.