Lions address offensive line in NFL.com's latest mock draft
Allen Park — It's a possibility that's largely been ignored leading up to the NFL Draft, but given Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn's propensity of addressing his team's most glaring need in the first round, selecting an offensive lineman should be viewed as a realistic option.
That's exactly how NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees things, slotting Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams to Detroit with the No. 8 pick. In this scenario, Williams would be converted to guard, where he would plug the hole created by T.J. Lang's departure.
"Detroit has spent a lot of draft capital on the offensive line," Jeremiah writes, "but I could see the Lions going back to the well one more time."
Jeremiah is right. Quinn has spent a lot of capital, both in the draft and free agency, on the unit. Two of the team's past three first-rounders — Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow — have been linemen. The team also has used a third-rounder on Graham Glasgow in 2016 and a fifth rounder on Tyrell Crosby last year. And in 2017, Quinn signed free agents Rick Wagner and Lang to top-of-the-market contracts.
The 6-foot-4, 302-pound Williams was terrific at Alabama. He allowed just 12 quarterback pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus. And hypothetically, the Lions could move him back to tackle in 2020, releasing Wagner to clear $6.1 million in cap space.
Williams already has made it clear he's open to playing guard if that's what the team that drafts him wants.
"I’ll play wherever a team wants me to play," Williams said at the NFL combine. "I was the best offensive tackle in college football, so I know I can play at the next level. But I’m a competitor. I want to be on the field. I’ll play wherever a team wants me to play."