The Lions situation at center is most definitely in a state of flux. Starter Dominic Raiola has been the fiery front man on the O-line for 10 years.
Never the best run blocker, Raiola does hold his own against even the best three-tech pass rushers. It’s those zero, and one-tech DTs and NTs that give the smurfish Raiola a real problem.
Backing up Raiola is Dylan Gandy. This is Gandy’s fourth season as a pro, and it’s safe to say that we’ve seen Gandy’s low ceiling already. Since Gandy can’t threaten Raiola’s starting job, it’s time to find a replacement here as well.
Detroit’s new center has to be a quick study. Absorbing the playbook, reading defensive fronts, knowing the assignments for the entire unit and making line calls are the bookish criteria, although Long Ball correctly reminded me that the line calls can be made by a guard.
Since Detroit plays primarily out of the shotgun, consistency in delivering the ball is a must.
Playing center for the Lions requires the ability to pull, and the speed to get to those edge blocks.
A low pad level, quick foot work, and hand checks, the center has to maintain contact with oncoming pass rushers and redirect their inertia. Centers who can set a strong anchor in pass protection is preferred.
Drive blocking to the correct shoulder of defenders with leverage and balance on run plays is an asset.
Fans are clamoring for a change, and here are the top candidates in a thin, but talented 2012 offensive center draft class that would be a fit on Detroit’s predominately man-power blocking scheme. A scheme that prizes power and leverage over speed and agility.