Leonard Davis: Where Could the Mammoth Lineman Fit with the Detroit Lions?
According to ProFootballTalk, Davis arrived in Allen Park Tuesday night and was planning to stay part of the day Wednesday. Practice is scheduled for 2:45 p.m., so ideally, this would give Davis a chance to meet with position coaches and potential teammates and get a real feel for the team.
If Davis were to sign—especially on a one-year deal—it would likely indicate that a starting spot is up for grabs on the Lions' line, but where?
Last season, Davis started all 16 games for the Dallas Cowboys at the right guard position. In the past, he has also played left guard and both tackle positions. He is as big as he is versatile, standing at 6'6" and reportedly weighing around 350 lbs.
In 2010, Pro Football Focus listed Davis as the 16th-best guard in all of football and the eighth-best right guard. PFF gave Davis positive marks across the board, but he scored highest in pass blocking and screen blocking—signifying surprising movement for a man of his size.
Statistically, Davis was credited with five sacks surrendered, one QB hit and 16 QB pressures—solid, though not spectacular, totals all around.
Davis is still on the market due to a variety of factors. Now 32, the one-time All-Pro is clearly in the twilight of his career and is no longer considered an elite player.
Also, Davis has a nasty reputation in the league as a somewhat dirty player. His 42 penalties are the fifth most in the league since he was drafted. However, Davis was only flagged five times in 2010 and only once in the last six games.
Who Should Start At Right Guard for the Lions?
Currently, the Lions have injury concerns at both tackle positions, with Jeff Backus sitting out due to a partially torn pectoral muscle and Gosder Cherilus returning from micro-fracture surgery. At guard, Rob Sims has been a stalwart, but Stephen Peterman was a disappointment last year and did not play well in the first preseason game.
Davis could potentially provide insurance at either tackle position, but Lions fans should salivate at the idea of Davis supplanting Peterman in the starting lineup.
Not only is Davis a better pass blocker than Peterman, but he is also a vastly superior run blocker and could be the upgrade needed in the Lions' woeful running game.
Last season, the Dallas Cowboys finished 16th in the league in total rushing offense. The Lions finished 23rd. Moreover, in the first preseason game, running lanes were scarce. The Lions finished with only 70 total yards against the Bengals with only 12 yards from the starting unit.
At 32, Davis is looking for one last hurrah in the NFL. The Lions are looking for the final pieces of a three-year-old rebuilding puzzle. This deal could be done sooner rather than later.
Michael Schottey is an on-call editor for the Bleacher Report College Writing Internship, as well as an NFL Featured Columnist and an NFL Labor/Draft Expert. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, he has professionally covered the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. Follow him on Twitter.
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