Offensive Tackle Position Open For Competition

Dueling Lions' offensive linemen (including Victor Rogers, above) vie for open spot left by departed Stockar McDougle.

When the Lions lost Stockar McDougle to the Miami Dolphins during free agency the right tackle job he had held for most of the past three seasons was declared open for competition.

Victor Rogers, a seventh-round pick in the 2002 draft who finally got some playing time at the end of the 2004 season, is among those lining up for a shot at the job.

So is Kelly Butler, fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft who was inactive for the first 15 games of his rookie season and did not play in the 16th. And the Lions signed former San Francisco lineman Kyle Kosier, just in case neither of their own young players is able to handle the job.

As it stands now, less than three weeks from the start of training camp, it appears the three will be part of the Lions most spirited competition going into the NFL season.

Butler got most of the work at right tackle during the recently-completed minicamps but it remains uncertain if coach Steve Mariucci had him there because he's the early leader in the competition or because Mariucci wanted to give him enough early reps to enable him to compete on a level playing field.

Rogers worked primarily at left tackle, presumably as a backup to Jeff Backus, and Kosier saw action in a variety of positions. So, where does the competition stand?

"Kyle Kosier has been a starter at the left tackle spot or guard or right tackle," Mariucci said. "Kelly Butler (got) a lot of snaps at the right tackle spot. We're going to be moving guys around. Kelly red-shirted last year so he needs all of the snaps he can get."

The apparently means the position will be decided on the field in August.

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