On Tuesday morning, one NFC North team got some awful news that should significantly affect their 2017 season. The Detroit Lions announced this morning that starting left tackle Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury in practice this week and that he has undergone surgery to correct the problem.
This injury will be a significant blow to the Lions’ offense as a whole, and obviously to the pass protection in front of quarterback Matthew Stafford. According to Ourlads’ depth charts, the second-string left tackle is likely Corey Robinson, a seventh-round draft pick in 2015 from South Carolina. However, Joe Dahl, a fifth-round pick in 2016, could be in line for the job in the meantime, as he was spotted taking reps at left tackle on Monday.
With the left side of their offensive line in a relatively stable situation coming into this offseason thanks to Decker, left guard Graham Glasgow, and center Travis Swanson, the Lions revamped the right side in free agency. They signed former Green Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang and former Ravens and Wisconsin Badgers tackle Ricky Wagner to play on that side of the line.
Decker’s timeline for recovery is unknown at this time, but if he cannot practice at the start of training camp he would be eligible for the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Packers first play the Lions at Lambeau Field in week 9 this season, then close the season at Ford Field in week 17. If he does end up on the PUP list, Decker would be eligible to return in time for that first game if his recovery allows.