Lions could be on guard for OL upgrade early in draft

Allen Park — Over the next several days, leading up to the NFL draft, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions’ roster situation and evaluate how the team might address these positions during the event. Today: Offensive line

Two years ago, Quinn drafted three linemen with his first five picks, securing Taylor Decker, a franchise blindside blocker, and a reliable interior starter in Graham Glasgow with the first two of those selections. Quinn later added versatile backup Joe Dahl in the fifth round.

That’s a decent amount of experienced depth, but based on past performance, there’s no clear-cut favorite, making an early-round draft pick a possibility.

Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson is the cream of the interior linemen crop in this class, and likely will be long gone before the Lions are on the clock. But UTEP’s Will Hernandez and Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn are both possibilities for Detroit at No. 20 in the first round.

All you can do is say it and actions speak louder than words, I guess, Gase said. That’s who’s gonna be on the field for us. I don’t see that changing. Ryan’s been a guy that we’ve built a lot of this around. My confidence level in him is very high. What I saw at the end of 2016 gives me great confidence in him. I’m excited to get him back. I know last year was tough on not only him but a lot of us because there’s a lot of time invested in that. I know our players are excited to get him back and get going again. We’ll see what we can do.

Some would say that actions like visits with Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen suggest that the team truly is considering its options with Tannehill. Still, Gase says Tannehill’s the guy — and that he’ll be better after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury.

This might sound strange but he learned a lot last year, Gase said. He got a chance to take a step back and really kind of see you have a different perspective. You almost had to take a coach’s role and just kind of listen and trying to help other guys. I thought he did a good job of figuring out and understanding the why behind everything. He had a chance to really do that instead of just listening, running out on the field, trying to execute it, trying to get better at certain things. I think he was able to really think through a lot of things. We had a long conversation at the end of the season. Just a lot of things that he learned. Some of the things that he was saying was very interesting to me. Kind of the perspective that he took.

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