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Will Jonah Jackson Take Joe Dahl's Job at Left Guard?

Examining whether Jonah Jackson will take Joe Dahl's job at left guard

The Lions still have a myriad of decisions to make entering the 2020 season. 

Among the most important is who will start at left guard come Week 1. 

The frontrunners for the job appear to be rookie Jonah Jackson and fifth-year pro Joe Dahl. 

Of the two, the leader in the clubhouse is Dahl. 

The Washington State product started in 13 games at left guard a year ago, and put together a solid campaign. 

He allowed just three sacks, and graded out as the 26th-best guard, according to Pro Football Focus. 

However, it's also true, according to CBS Sports, that he finished just 30th in pass-blocking efficiency among guards who suited up for at least 50 percent of their team's snaps on the season.

Meanwhile, Jackson, who was taken with the Lions' second of two picks in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft (No. 75 overall), was productive in his lone season spent at Ohio State. He spent the first four years of his collegiate career at Rutgers, including a redshirt campaign in 2015 as a freshman. 

In 2019, Jackson started all 14 games at left guard for the Buckeyes, and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He also permitted only one sack on 1,020 pass-blocking reps. 

CBS Sports' Jeff Kerr sums up the situation in a perfectly succinct fashion: 

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"Dahl should be the front-runner to win the job, but it will be difficult to keep a player as talented as Jackson on the sidelines for long." 

From all accounts, Dahl is the favorite to start for now due to his experience playing the position at the NFL level. 

But, he doesn't have a stranglehold on the gig. 

In the future, Jackson will be a definite threat to cut into Dahl's playing time and to eventually supplant him as the starter at left guard. 

Just don't expect it to be something that happens within the first two to three weeks -- or maybe even during the first four weeks -- of the 2020 campaign. 

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