Lions evaluating interior linemen
Centers Alex Mack of California, Eric Wood of Louisville and Max Unger of Oregon are widely considered the top three interior linemen in the draft. The Lions have done their diligence on each and could draft one with the first pick of the second round.
According to league sources, Lions offensive line coach George Yarno (along with Jaguars tight ends coach Mike Tice) ran Mack's pro-day workout at California last month, the Lions attended Unger's personal workout conducted by Broncos coaches days earlier (and sat down there for a private film session with him), and Wood is one of 30 prospects the Lions brought to Detroit for a physical and visit.
All three players are projected late first- or early second-round picks, and all have been busy crisscrossing the country recently. Mack has traveled to Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and met with Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff; Unger visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday; and Wood was expected in Cincinnati and Cleveland this week.
The Lions, who allowed a league-high 169 sacks the last three years, are looking for more physical linemen as they try and rebuild their offensive front. If they draft Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford No. 1 overall as expected and pass on Baylor tackle Jason Smith and Virginia's Eugene Monroe, they might find the most value in a versatile lineman like Mack, Wood or Unger at pick 33. Known primarily as centers in college, all three have the temperament to play guard in the NFL, the size the Lions covet (they're all at least 6-foot-3 and 309 pounds), and could revert back to center if the Lions decide not to sign Dominic Raiola to a contract extension.
So far this offseason, the Lions have re-signed guard Stephen Peterman and backups George Foster and Damion Cook, and added free-agent guard/tackle Daniel Loper in free agency.
One other visit note, the Lions hosted former Michigan tight end Carson Butler recently after tight ends coach Tim Lappano ran Butler's pro-day workout at Michigan last month. Butler is projected as a late-round pick or priority free-agent signing.
Labels: Alex Mack, Carson Butler, Daniel Loper, Detroit Lions, Dominic Railoa, Eric Wood, Eugene Monroe, George Foster, George Yarno, Jason Smith, Matt Stafford, Max Unger, Stephen Peterman, Tim Lappano