It is no secret to anyone around the league that the Detroit Lions offense isn’t necessarily going to be a juggernaut this year. Turnover at just about every skill position and lack of the “big name” guy leads to low expectations in 2021. Kristopher Knox at Bleacher Report had them ranked as the 25th best offense post-draft.
This offensive line is better and deeper than we have seen in recent memory. If rookie tackle Penei Sewell can be the guy he was projected to be prior to the draft, then he will go down as one of the biggest steals of the 2021 draft.
Once Sewell can get some of the rookie mistakes worked out that showed up against the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason game then he could provide some real security at the right tackle position. Other than the first-rounder, the rest of the line will look like last year, which is a good thing.
Continuity of veterans like Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow, tackle Taylor Decker, and guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai along with an extra offseason for guard Jonah Jackson, who surprised a lot of people last year, will make this a top ten (maybe even top 5?) offensive line if they can stay healthy. Having a versatile and game-experienced backup like tackle Tyrell Crosby should provide some relief if guys do get banged up a bit.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about the offensive line and not bring up Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson. He made a huge jump from his rookie year to year two and it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him make another jump in year 3.
Hockenson looks bigger, stronger, and faster already this camp after spending the offseason working out with fellow former Iowa Hawkeye tight end George Kittle. This could be the year we see him take a strong leadership role on the offensive line and not only go out and catch passes, but work with the other five lineman on creating some gaps for running back D’Andre Swift.
The Detroit Lions offensive line might end up being their best position group this year. Their continuity and lack of turds to quote head coach Dan Campbell could be enough to mask some of the issues at the offensive skill positions. This will be a fun group to watch and hopefully we will get to see them work together a bit more on Saturday in Pittsburgh.