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Lions Training Camp Battle: Can Tyrell Crosby Beat Out 'Big V' at Right Guard?

Read more on Tyrell Crosby's chances of supplanting Halapoulivaati Vaitai as the Detroit Lions' starting right guard in 2021.

There's no doubt that Halapoulivaati Vaitai was a disappointment in his first year with the Detroit Lions

It can be argued that he, in fact, was one of the biggest swings-and-misses of the 2020 NFL free-agency period. 

The former Lions regime, led by Bob Quinn in the front office, inked the former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman to a five-year, $45 million deal last offseason, with $20 million of it being fully guaranteed. 

It looked like a foolish move from the start, as Vaitai had never started a full season's worth of games prior to the signing. Additionally, the most games he had ever started in a single season was 10 -- which came in 2017 with the Eagles. 

Fast-forward to 2020, and the pundits that criticized the Vaitai acquisition were validated. 

The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder once again failed to suit up for a full season's worth of games (started 10 contests), and didn't even finish the campaign as the team's starting right tackle -- the job he was acquired for. 

Instead, he finished the season at right guard, decreasing his value to the Lions in the process. 

He battled the injury bug nearly all season, including a foot ailment that kept him out for the first two weeks of the season. And, when he did play -- no matter where he lined up on the O-line, he wasn't very good. 

In his absence, swing tackle Tyrell Crosby proved to be much more efficient playing on the right side of the line. Crosby ended up logging 11 starts at right tackle -- his most career starts for a single season.

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Now, he enters the 2021 campaign with a realistic chance of stealing Vaitai's starting gig at right guard. 

It's Crosby's best chance for consistent playing time, as Detroit's 2021 first-round draft pick Penei Sewell -- a fellow Oregon product -- enters the season as the team's starting right tackle. 

It leaves Vaitai and Crosby in a battle for playing time at right guard. 

Sure, Crosby, standing in at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, has consistently played at tackle up to this point in his NFL career. 

However, he's viewed as a versatile lineman, capable of playing both tackle and guard positions. 

If Vaitai succumbs to a physical ailment yet again or struggles during training camp, don't be surprised if Crosby supplants him as the team's starter at right guard, opposite left guard and second-year pro Jonah Jackson.

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