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Ravens Insider: Detroit Lions will reportedly sign former Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler to 1-year deal


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ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions had a hole on their vaunted offensive line after losing Jonah Jackson to the Los Angeles Rams. But they’re reportedly signing former Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler, and his 181 career starts to fill that need, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

With Graham Glasgow back on a three-year deal, the Lions again appear to have one of the most desirable offensive lines in the league locked up. Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell, Glasgow, and Zeitler would be the top five.

Zeitler is reportedly on his way to Michigan on Tuesday to take his physical and sign his one-year deal with the franchise. The 2012 first-round pick made his lone Pro Bowl appearance last season with the Baltimore Ravens. Zeitler started 15 games and was a key piece in Baltimore’s run-heavy attack, helping Lamar Jackson hit new heights from the pocket.

He has also previously played for the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals across his 12 seasons in the NFL. Zeitler has logged 12,453 of his 12,459 career snaps at right guard, so it’s possible Glasgow slides next to Decker on the left side.

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Pro Football Focus graded Zeitler as the 15th-best overall guard among those with at least 20% of their team’s snaps. He was strong against the run but one of the league’s best interior blockers in pass protection. The analytics site graded Zeitler second among all guards in that department. He allowed three sacks and only 21 pressures on 608 pass-blocking reps.

He’s been one of the more consistent guards over the last decade-plus of action, especially in pass protection. PFF has routinely recognized Zeitler as among the best guards at keeping the pocket from getting crushed.

It’s another classic Brad Holmes signing because it keeps the team’s draft options wide open across the board. The 34-year-old allows the team to postpone the long-term guard conversation for another season while possibly finding a prospect in the draft to mold for starting duties.

Another piece for the offensive line has been among the most popular mock draft selections for the Lions at Pick 29, and that’s unlikely to change even after this addition. That said, Zeitler has been as durable as they come, playing at least 15 games in every season dating back to 2015. If Zeitler remains the same guard he’s been, or at least in the ballpark, then the Lions are getting one of the most dependable and bankable options there was on the starting-level open market.

PFF ranked Zeitler as the 33rd-best overall free agent. The Athletic had the veteran guard at 44th, so it’s clear the Lions are adding a starting-level talent to keep them trench-rich. They also have Kayode Awosika and Colby Sorsdal in the mix, while Glasgow offers versatility at center in a pinch.

©2024 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit mlive.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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