Could the Lions move Backus to guard?


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Here's an interesting tidbit from David Birkett of the Oakland Press: Detroit has discussed the possibility of moving left tackle Jeff Backus to guard, a scenario that Backus apparently is considering.

It's way too early to project the Lions' starting lineup. But if nothing else, this discussion gives Detroit's new regime some flexibility as it proceeds through free agency and the draft. If the Lions fall in love with, say, Alabama tackle Andre Smith, they know they can make room for him by shifting Backus over one spot. (It's presumed that newly signed Stephen Peterman will start at right guard.)

On the other hand, if the Lions are better able to acquire a guard through free agency or the draft, they can still leave Backus at left tackle.

Update: Backus downplayed the issue Wednesday in an interview with Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press. Backus said his only conversation about it was a brief exchange with general manager Martin Mayhew last fall.

One conclusion you can probably make from this: General manager Martin Mayhew doesn't consider Backus an elite left tackle. Left tackles play one of the game's most difficult positions, and they don't usually get moved if they're doing a great job. And the Lions probably wouldn't have approached Backus about the possibility if there was only a fleeting chance of it occurring.

As we've noted, few players from an 0-16 team should feel secure in their roles. Backus, who has been a starter since 2001, is no different.