Detroit Lions bolster offensive line with two signings

Last week the Lions were hit with the worst news any team could hear. Starting left tackle Taylor Decker will miss four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum. This could put Decker out until October, causing Jim Caldwell and staff to make some moves.

In the last week, Detroit has tried to address this hole in the line by acquiring two left tackles to compete for the starting job. The Lions traded for the Los Angelas Rams’ former No.2 overall pick Greg Robinson in return for a sixth-round pick in 2018. In addition, the Lions inked former Buffalo Bills tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.

Firstly, let’s look at the Robinson trade. It always looks nice to have a former No.2 overall pick on your team, until you find out he was so bad his former team traded him for a mere sixth-round pick just to get rid of him. It was clear the Rams were trying to find a way to dump Robinson and they found their suitor in a Lions team without a starting left tackle.

Robinson has not lived up to any expectation of his high draft status in his three-year career thus far, allowing an average of just under six sacks a year while also averaging at least 11 penalties a season. He was a liability outside and was even benched at times. Obviously, this is not the type of guy you want coming in but Robinson was quoted saying the change to Detroit is “refreshing.”

Robinson’s best attribute has been his health, as he made 38 consecutive starts for the Rams before being benched late in the 2016 season.

Secondly, Kouandjio was a former second-round pick out of Alabama. He has dealt with several injuries so far in his three-year career, leading him to only start seven games. From such a small sample size, it is hard to tell how good Kouandjio could actually be, but after hurting his hip from falling in his home in January, the Bills decided it was time to move on.

In addition to his injuries, an incident that occurred with Kouandjio might also be a big factor on his release from Buffalo. In April, he was found by police with his pants off in a local park, about five minutes from the Bills’ facilities. He was cooperative with authorities and was not arrested on any charges, but the reasons for this incident were never publicized.

So, the Lions’ answer to losing arguably their best offensive linemen is to bring in two mediocre tackles: one who is a draft bust and the other an injury-riddled player who has had off-the-field issues. These hardly seem like the moves that will keep Detroit on track for a playoff season.

Optimistically, Robinson provides the team with a consistent starter who has at least been given the pressure of protecting the blindside. Kouandjio is very much unpolished and does not have the ideal experience a coach would like before sending him off to start. Maybe Kouandjio, if healthy, is a good option and he has just not had the chance to prove it.

These moves could prove fruitless, however, and Detroit may be stuck in an endless rotation of different players at left tackle until the return of Taylor Decker. These were likely the best options the team could get this late into the offseason and a close eye will be kept on them as OTA’s and mini-camps progress.

Yardbarker: NFL

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