Why Did Lions Pass On Guard In Draft? "We're Happy With What We Have"

It was one of the more surprising twists of the last few days.

Will Burchfield
April 27, 2019 - 10:12 pm

When the draft began Thursday night, there were rumblings the Lions could take an offensive lineman in the first round. Specifically someone to replace T.J. Lang at right guard.

Then they took tight end T.J. Hockenson. Surely they'd find a guard on day two. 

Then they took linebacker Jahlani Tavai and safety Will Harris. Surely, with six more picks at their disposal, they'd find a guard on day three. 

Then they took a defensive end, a cornerback, a wide receiver, a running back, a defensive tackle and another tight end. 

When the dust settled Saturday night, the Lions were left with the same hole on the offensive line they had when the draft began. As far as surprises go, that ranked right there with taking Tavai in the second round. 

But in the eyes of general manager Bob Quinn, guard wasn't a position of great need. 

"We're happy with what we have," he said. 

The Lions did sign veteran Oday Aboushi last month, shortly after releasing Lang. The 27-year-old played eight games at right guard for the Cardinals last season. And he started eight games there for the Seahawks under current Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell the season before that. 

They also have Kenny Wiggins, who spelled Lang in 10 games last season, Joe Dahl and Tyrell Crosby.

Quinn invested a first-round pick in the offensive line in both 2016 and 2018, plus three more picks in the first five rounds. All of those players remain on the roster, and three of them are starters in Taylor Decker, Graham Glasgow and Frank Ragnow. 

He focused on defense this year, spending four of his first five picks on that side of the ball. 

If they Lions were intent on bolstering their O-line on Saturday, they would have had options. 20 offensive linemen came off the board, including six guards in the fourth round. 

But at that point in the draft, Quinn was looking for the best players available. 

"Once you get into the third day of the draft, you’re never going to reach for guys," he said. "You really have to follow the board. Just because you might have a little bit of an opening on the depth chart, you don’t want to reach for a player grade-wise.

"We stayed very, very true to the board today. That’s kind of how it fell to us." 

In all likelihood, the Lions will pluck an O-lineman or two from the pile of undrafted free agents. But as they head into the summer, it looks like the job at right guard is either Aboushi's or Wiggins' to lose.