The Lions offensive line is primed to be one of the league’s best, if not the best. In the one drive that starters played, the offensive line excelled, allowing no sacks and opening up lanes in the run game. On the right side you have Penei Sewell at the tackle position and Halapoulivaati Vaitai at guard. On the left side you have, Taylor Decker at tackle and Jonah Jackson at guard. And, of course, you have Frank Ragnow at center.
Frank Ragnow emerged as one of the best centers in football in 2020. He was selected to his first pro bowl team and made all-pro second team. Following the off-season, Ragnow signed a contract with Detroit to make him the highest paid center in the NFL. Last year, he unfortunately had his season cut short, breaking his toe during a week four matchup against Chicago. With Ragnow having a healthy off-season, he is primed to have another monster year and replicate what he did in 2020. In the preseason game, he put up a 80.7 PFF grade.
Penei Sewell is coming off of a huge rookie season, where he really turned a corner in the second half of the season. The seventh overall pick struggled to start last season. With Taylor Decker starting the season injured, Sewell had switched to an uncomfortable position at left tackle. Once Decker was healthy, Sewell was able to switch back to the right side and really flipped a switch. Sewell allowed one sack in his last 12 starts. Sewell is bound to have an all-pro caliber year. In the preseason game, he tallied a 87.8 PFF grade.
Taylor Decker started the 2021 season the PUP list, missing the first eight weeks of the season. Decker is viewed as an above average LT in today’s league and will be a huge part of Detroit’s offensive line. Decker has allowed just four sacks since 2020 (25 games). Decker has 3 years left on his contract after signing a big extension last off-season. In the preseason game, he put up a 80.1 PFF grade.
Jonah Jackson is coming off of a career year. Last season he was named to his first pro bowl as an injury reserve. He allowed just four sacks last season. Jackson has started every game so far in his career. The third year guard is primed to have another great season. He did not play in the Lions first preseason game.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai was signed to a massive five year deal by the previous regime, led by Bob Quinn. Vaitai was viewed by the majority as another mediocre player that Quinn overpaid. Coming off of a very rough 2020 season, Vaitai turned a corner in the 2021 season. Vaitai allowed zero sacks last season. Yes, you heard that correctly, zero sacks. Vaitai looks to build on last season, as he is under contract for 3 more seasons. Vaitai was graded out as the best offensive player by PFF in the first preseason game, with a 91.8 grade.
The Lions offensive line depth has been a concern though. The recently signed Kendall Lamm had a nice performance in the preseason, but other than that, there really is no depth. Matt Nelson and Dan Skipper were downright horrendous in the preseason game. Barring injuries though, the Lions will have a top three line in football, if not the best.