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Geoff Schwartz has always been a favorite of mine, which stems from his quality play in 2011 for the Carolina Panthers as both right guard and right tackle, which earned him a plus 12.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. However, his last two seasons have seen him not see the field for any significant snaps because of injuries and roster battles. However, if given the starting gig, he is young enough and skilled enough to reassert himself as a great player.
Schwartz has earned his paycheck as a pass protector in the NFL. Despite a huge 330 pound frame, he has yet to develop into a consistent run blocker. However, in pass protection he has shown the power and quickness to deal with both edge rushers and defensive tackles. While he has yet to consistently play well in the run game, he was dominant in that facet in college and has shown flashes of this at the NFL level that suggests that he may be able to develop this way in time, although his tall frame would suggest he will never be a road grading offensive guard, if that became his position.
The Lions are also in dire need of depth and youth on the offensive line. They have already cut Stephen Peterman, who was the incumbent right guard last season, and it remains to be seen if they will bring back their former right tackle, Gosder Cherilus. Seeing as Schwartz can play both of those positions, if nothing else, he would be a great depth lineman who can cover a multitude of positions on the line ably. However, his ability to be a good offensive guard means that he would likely be a great value starter on the line who would help keep Matthew Stafford upright and the passing game flowing.
Schwartz was my dream free agent last year, and a year in Minnesota has not cooled my opinion of him. He simply has to be a target for the front office this season when getting value, for money is at a premium.
Predicted Contract: Two years, $5 million