Lions draft OL Colby Sorsdal in fifth round

ALLEN PARK — With the 152nd overall pick, the Lions drafted Colby Sorsdal who was a five-year starter at William & Mary. It was the Lions’ first of two selections on Saturday, the final day of the draft.

Sorsdal, who is 6-foot-6 and 301 pounds, was a team captain with 46 starts at right tackle. He became a starter as a true freshman for the Tribe.

“I can’t really explain the feelings right now, I think I have hives a little bit for how excited I am,’’Sorsdal said during a Zoom interview from his family home in Dallas.

Look for him to possibly move to the interior line due to his lack of length (short arms). He said he just wants to make an impact wherever he is on the field.

He joins one of the best offensive lines in the NFL with guys like Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell and Jonah Jackson.

“I think one of my strengths is that I learn and I love to learn. Coming into a room and learning from all of those guys, it’s a dream come true,’’ Sorsdal said. “I’m just excited to get to work.’’

He first talked to the Lions at the Shrine game and a local scout was at his pro day. He said he’s also talked to Hank Fraley, the Lions offensive line coach.

Sorsdal wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, but has size, experience, moves very well and most of all he has toughness, according to Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network.

He was a  third-team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection for his play in 10 starts in 2021. Then he was a first-team FCS All-American and All-CAA notice as a 13-game starter in his final season.


Lions back at work with renewed urgency after building foundation last season

ALLEN PARK — The Lions returned this week to the team facility for offseason workouts meeting new teammates, introducing themselves to new staff and getting down to business.

Coming off a 9-8 season definitely carries a vibe better than a year ago when they had won just three games the previous season.

While conventional wisdom from NFL prognosticators seems to be that the Lions could be the team to beat in the NFC North, that thought does not carry over into the locker room. 

Quarterback Jared Goff has heard the talk, but plainly said there are no favorites in April.

The Lions finished with an 8-2 record in their last 10 games and became media darlings of sorts, but they did not make the playoffs.

“I think the standards and expectations will continue to rise. I think the urgency in the building will continue to rise, I think it has already. All the way from the top down we realize that we’re ready to go…’’ Goff said on Tuesday.

This is Goff’s third preseason with the Lions and he said the offseason moves have been noticeably more aggressive.

“You can see the aggressiveness in them and it trickles into us. We see everything, a couple weeks the draft will come and there’ll be more of that there,’’ Goff said. “The aggressiveness of taking our shot and knowing that we have a team that can compete with anybody and we’re going to try to make some noise this year.’’

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been with the Lions two seasons and he thinks the experience of those years will help himself and his teammates transform this year.

“I think, us as a team, we have a lot of young guys that we’ve had since we were here that are hungry, who saw what we did two years ago only winning three games my rookie year to last year to what we can do this year,’’ St. Brown said. “I think being a part of that journey is going to help us throughout the year.’’

Left tackle Taylor Decker, entering his eighth season with the Lions, is singing the same song. He’s excited to be back, sees the changes that have been made but can’t take anything for granted. He does not think the team will have to guard against thinking they are too good.

“I think everybody’s past experiences will take care of that. Players know that have been here, staff that has been here, the fans now,’’ Decker said. “There’ve been some tough years, some really tough years. I have the best job in the world, it’s amazing but you want to win.’’

Decker has made just one trip to the playoffs in his tenure in Detroit and that was his rookie season. He’s excited about this coming season but is mindful of what can be reality in the NFL.

“It’s nice to come into the building with expectations. Like it’s an enjoyable thing to look forward to next year knowing that we laid a foundation the prior year and that’s something we did together as a group,’’ Decker said. “There’s excitement for what the future could hold, but ultimately – it’s a dead horse statement, like beating a dead horse. You have to come in and on your first day of OTAs you have to do your testing, your stretching, your soft tissue, your lifting, your running. That’s what’s important today. That’s the thing about this league: Are you going to come to work every single day? Because if you don’t come to work now, if you didn’t start working out till just now then you aren’t going to have the results. There’s definitely excitement and that’s a great thing, we’ve laid the foundation. But let’s do the work now.’’

(Coming up: The Lions have two picks in the first round of the NFL draft which begins on Thursday, April 27.)

Lions coach Dan Campbell credits veteran players for team’s growth

ALLEN PARK — While many of the Lions rookies have been drawing well-deserved praise for the recent turn-around, coach Dan Campbell opened his Monday presser with words of appreciation for the veterans.

After Sunday’s 34-23 win over the Vikings, the Lions have now won five of their last six and playoffs remain a possibility. The team has matured after a 1-6 start, with the veterans leading the way for the talented class of rookies. 

“Sometimes you lose sight of it, you don’t ever want to take it for granted, but they play at such a high level week in and week out. They’re a huge part of our success,’’ Campbell said.

He specifically named left tackle Taylor Decker, center Frank Ragnow, linebacker Jarrad Davis, fullback Jason Cabinda, linebacker Alex Anzalone, special teams C.J. Moore and defensive lineman Romeo Okwara. He also mentioned defensive lineman Michael Brockers who hasn’t been activated in recent games. 

“He’s a huge part, he’s helped develop those young guys in that D-line room. I don’t want that to be lost. Those guys are damned good players for us, they’ve been outstanding in the locker room, they’re great leaders,’’ Campbell said. “They’re workers and they set the tone for everybody and those young bucks fall right in line. We have a number of those guys.’’

Of all the veterans, Decker has the longest tenure in Detroit. A first-round draft pick in 2016, the left tackle has seen the ups and downs from a playoff loss in his rookie season to struggles to get back to the postseason or even just to win more than a handful of games. 

“Honestly I know they’re all kind of similar. Decker is one of the guys I think about. He’s the player who has been around here the longest, he saw some early success then some rough times,’’ Campbell said. “Now to be able to have some hope back is the best way to say it. I know he’s having fun, he’s very much invested in this team. He’s all in. That’s one of the guys you want to win for, you want to help him get there. But we appreciate him, man. He’s putting in the work, he’s all in, he’s a true pro.’’

On Sunday the Lions will play at the N.Y. Jets (7-6), a team that has lost three of its last four. The final three games are at the Carolina Panthers (5-8) on Dec. 24, home to Chicago (3-10) on Jan. 1 and at Green Bay (5-8) on Jan. 7/8.