Now this was a pleasant surprise. After the Lions lost out on the three elite tackle prospects I was convinced that they would settle Riley Rieff into the LT role and then look for a guard in the middle rounds. The Lions blocking scheme has been based around movement with lineman pulling and trapping to try to create holes. Since they like to work in open space with screens and running back passes, I figured they might shy away from road grading style offensive lineman. However, with Larry Warford they got exactly what I feel they have been missing for years, a mauling physical presence on the interior of the line.
Warford is a huge human being at 6’3″ 340 lbs, but he is more athletic than a guy his size should be. He’s almost a perfect blend of Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack, he’s strong at the point of attack but athletic enough to not be a liability in the open field. He has a powerful punch and really strong hands which helps him jolt defenders and then lock on to them. He will really help the Lions in short yardage as well.
On the downside, he did tend to tire out late in games and then his technique suffered, so look for the Lions to try to get him to shed a few pounds to help him maintain conditioning.
As odd as it sounds, I am more excited about this pick than any of the others so far and I think Warford will be the biggest impact player in the draft for the Lions this year. With Reiff at LT, Rob Sims at LG, Dom Raiola at C, Warford at RG and the winner of Jason Fox vs Corey Hilliard at RT the Lions have remade the offensive line. They are going to be inexperienced, but they are going to be much stronger in the running game and very stout protecting Matthew Stafford up the middle. I absolutely love this pick.