Detroit may not be done retooling their offensive line depth.
You might think after signing two premier free agent offensive linemen that Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn would sit back at the work he had done and give himself a nice “job well done” into the mirror, but you’d be wrong. The Lions may not be done adding pieces to their offensive line, as Ian Rapoport broke news that Detroit is hosting former Saints Guard Tim Lelito for a visit (since confirmed by Dave Birkett):
FA #Saints G Tim Lelito is on a visit today with the #Lions, source said. A local trip for the Grand Valley St alum & Detroit area native— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2017
Lelito is a local guy who grew up in St. Clair, Michigan and went to college at Grand Valley State. After going undrafted in 2013, Lelito was picked up by the Saints and started 24 games in his four seasons there—including 13 in 2015. Last year, the Saints offered Lelito a restricted free agent tender, but as an unrestricted free agent this year, and the team already signing former Lions’ guard Larry Warford, New Orleans does not appear to have any interest in bringing him back.
Lelito mostly played left guard for the Saints, but he has versatility to play all around the interior of the offensive line. Last year, he started one game under center for injured Max Unger. He also started a couple games at right guard in New Orleans. As for how he has performed?
FWIW, Lelito is another guard that has a good pass blocking grade (76.8) vs. run blocking (60.2) via @PFF. Are we sure BQ isn't Stafford? https://t.co/oo9c6wTuDD— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) March 15, 2017
If the Lions were to land Lelito, things would get very interesting on the Lions’ depth chart. This would only increase the likelihood that 2015 first-round pick Laken Tomlinson is on the trading block. The 2016 starter has already been surpassed by new free agent addition T.J. Lang on the depth chart, but many argued that he’s worthy of as a cheap option for depth on the team. But Lelito may come just as cheap and provides versatility. Perhaps more importantly, he appears to be a Bob Quinn guy, whereas Tomlinson was drafted by his predecessor Martin Mayhew.
We’ll keep you updated on how Lilito’s visit goes.