The Detroit Lions boast one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. Star center Frank Ragnow receives more recognition around the league each season. Bookend tackles Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker give edge rushers all they can handle on a weekly basis.
Guard is a different story. While both of Detroit’s starting guards over the past few seasons have been fine, they never stood out as high-end options in the NFL. Jonah Jackson has proven to be a starting-caliber player in the NFL. Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been fine when healthy, but the former Eagle has been overpaid during his tenure with the Lions. Neither player strikes fear into opposing defenses, but they play well enough.
Both Jackson and Vaitai could be gone after the 2023 season. Jackson’s rookie contract is up, and he is looking to get paid next offseason. Vaitai restructured his deal so that 2024 is a void year. The Lions needed to address the possibility of losing both guards this offseason after this upcoming season. The team brought back Graham Glasgow for his second go around with the team, but the veteran is on a one-year deal. He is likely to compete with Vaitai for the starting right guard spot.
The team will look to bring back Jackson on the right deal, but Vaitai may be playing his final season in the Motor City. In the NFL Draft, the Lions found a late-round developmental prospect who could ultimately be a starter for the team down the road. With the 152nd overall pick in the fifth round, the Detroit Lions selected Colby Sorsdal out of William and Mary.
The Detroit Lions will flex Colby Sorsdal to guard
Sorsdal played tackle during his collegiate career. The senior racked up 46 starts in five seasons with William and Mary. However, the 6-6, 301-pound offensive lineman does not possess the arm length most scouts look for in NFL tackles. Without other elite traits as a lineman, it is likely Sorsdal will make the switch to guard at the NFL level.
There are things to like about Sorsdal. He possesses good athletic ability. Most notably, he moves well laterally for his size. He accelerates into contact when engaging defensive linemen, and he does a good job getting to the second level.
Sorsdal struggles with power. He does not have great core strength, and his anchor is not particularly strong. He does not make great use of his hands, and he is susceptible to bull-rush moves.
There is a reason Sorsdal is a fifth-round selection. He is not going to enter the NFL as a day-one starter. However, with time and proper coaching, he could be a starting-caliber offensive lineman. He needs to add muscle and build his core strength. A season behind Vaitai or Glasgow would benefit the incoming rookie.
Colby Sorsdal is ready to learn as a newly minted Detroit Lion
Per Detroit Lions Senior Writer Tim Twentyman, Sorsdal stood out to the Lions’ front office during the East-West Shrine Game. He played at all five offensive line positions during practices. It was at the East-West Shrine Game where Sorsdal first began speaking with the Lions.
“At my pro day, I met with an area scout. It just kind of happened from there,” Sorsdal said in an interview. “I had a handful of calls with (offensive line) coach (Hank) Fraley and others and I’m here so I’m excited.
Sorsdal said one of his biggest strengths is that he loves to learn.
“So coming into a room with Penei Sewell and all those guys it’s a dream come true. I’m just excited to work,” he said.
Whether he ultimately becomes a starter or not, Sorsdal will, at the very least, provide offensive line depth for the Lions moving forward. Most of Detroit’s backup offensive linemen enter free agency next offseason. Others will be exclusive rights free agents.
Sorsdal has some tools that could make him an intriguing starter one day. Whether he actually gets there or not is another thing entirely.
For more from the author, Thomas Chavez, check him out on Twitter here: @tlchavez43
Featured Image Credit: © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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