The Detroit Lions report to Allen Park, Michigan, at various points this week to start the 2017 season -- rookies early in the week and veterans on July 29 leading up to the first day of practice on July 30. To get you ready for that, we'll give a little bit more insight into each position group as camp gets ready to get going throughout the week.
Now, we'll look at the offensive line.
Players: Centers -- Travis Swanson, Leo Koloamatangi; Guards -- T.J. Lang, Brandon Thomas, Laken Tomlinson, Graham Glasgow, Joe Dahl; Tackles -- Taylor Decker, Greg Robinson, Corey Robinson, Cornelius Lucas, Cyrus Kouandjio, Rick Wagner, Tony Hills, Storm Norton, Matt Rotheram.
Roster locks: Decker (PUP), Wagner, Swanson, Lang, Glasgow.
Who takes over for Decker: With Decker starting camp on the physically unable to perform list and potentially starting the season there, too, the biggest question for the Lions is who is protecting Matthew Stafford's blind side. The two most likely options at this point are Cornelius Lucas or Greg Robinson. They are the two healthy tackles in the left tackle competition with Corey Robinson (PUP) and Cyrus Kouandjio (NFI) starting camp injured. They are also the logical options. Lucas has the most experience in the system and held up well in his one start at left tackle when Riley Reiff got hurt in 2014. It's his more natural position. The Lions traded with the Rams for Greg Robinson at the end of minicamp last month and the former No. 2 overall pick has all the talent to win the job. It shouldn't be surprising to see Lucas get first-team work the first few days of camp, but Robinson could easily overtake him. Kouandjio, when he returns from injury, is a wild card because like Robinson, the talent is there. The question is if he can transition it to the field. If you asked me today who the starter ends up being in Week 1 against Arizona, I would say it's Greg Robinson. But I don't feel confident about the prediction and camp can definitely change that. It's also why I have none of the left tackle competition players in the locks category. Too many questions.
What happens to Tomlinson: The Lions' 2015 first-round pick is going to get a shot to win the left guard job currently held by Graham Glasgow. But Glasgow has the edge and the inside track on winning the job after overtaking Tomlinson last season. It's been a rough journey for Tomlinson, who hasn't been consistent enough to stay on the field in the NFL. With the Lions signing T.J. Lang in the offseason and having Glasgow and Dahl as guards with better position flexibility, Tomlinson is going to have a challenging road to a roster spot. It's not an impossible road because if the talent clicks, he will have a lot of value and Glasgow can also be the backup center. But he's no lock for the team like he was the last two seasons.
Can the blocking improve: Beyond personnel, this is the biggest question for the Lions. It's why Detroit invested so much in the line over the past two seasons with the signings of Lang and Wagner this offseason and using a first-round pick on Decker and a third-round pick on Glasgow in 2016. The Lions actually looked to have the line as a strength for the first time since 2013 this season. Decker's injury changed that and now it's in a state of flux again. But barring injury, the right side of the line is improved. Swanson returning from a season-ending concussion gives the Lions a good, smart young center who had the best year of his career in 2016 before being hurt. If the Lions can solve the left tackle question, then the line can remain a strength.
How does T.J. Lang fit: The only reason this is a question is because Lang sat out the spring while recovering from hip surgery. He slides into the right guard spot vacated by Larry Warford and needs to build chemistry with new right tackle Rick Wagner and Swanson at center. It shouldn't be an issue for the Pro Bowler, but those camp reps will help develop chemistry at a position where tandem work is more important than any other spot on the field other than the field goal unit. The good injury news for the Lions? Lang was not listed on the PUP or NFI lists released Tuesday, so he should be ready to go when camp starts this weekend.