Many believed that guard and first-round pick Laken Tomlinson was a shoo-in to start for the Lions this season.
Not so fast.
Fellow newcomer Manny Ramirez, for whom the team traded in a swap with Denver, began OTAs this week working with the first team. Tomlinson was on the second unit.
Jim Caldwell explained why, praising the 32-year-old Ramirez along the way.
"He's a guy that's certainly going to add some girth and power and experience in the (interior)," Caldwell told MLive.com. "But, also, you can just tell from a leadership standpoint, I mean, he's tremendous. Real solid guy, just a person that's well-rounded, has a good sense of what being a real pro is. ... I think you'll see some of that wear off on some of our younger guys."
Ramirez was a full-time starter with the Broncos in each of the last three seasons.
When the Lions drafted Travis Swanson a year ago, the idea was for him to emerge as a starting center for the franchise by 2015.
There's now some doubt, at least that's what the Lions themselves are saying after acquiring veteran Manny Ramirez in a trade on Thursday during the NFL draft.
"I don't know," Lions offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn said, via the Detroit Free Press. "And I'm not trying to be evasive, I just don't know. What is it, May 2, 3rd? The depth kind of develops itself, which is a nice thing. Going through OTAs, mini-camp, training camp, it always takes care of itself."
Swanson is still the favorite to start at center, though it does appear the Lions want to put him in a competitive situation.
The Lions acquired interior lineman Manny Ramirez, the No. 143 pick in the draft and a 2016 fifth-round pick to move back five spots to No. 28, with the Broncos trading up to No. 23 to select Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray.
The Lions pick up two fifth-rounders and Ramirez, who earned a negative grade from Pro Football Focus in both pass blocking and run blocking last season. He can slot in at either guard or center for the Lions.
The Broncos, who were predicted by some to focus on adding offensive-line talent in the draft, instead move up to grab Ray, who was one of the top-rated pass rushers during the predraft process but was cited for marijuana possession earlier this week, causing him to fall down some team's draft boards.
The Broncos will have both Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders Week 17 against the Raiders.
Manning came into the contest listed as probable due to a thigh injury. He was never really expected to miss the contest. Sanders was listed as questionable with a hip issue. He was a limited participant in practice all week.
The team will also have nearly all of their probable players. That means C.J. Anderson, Lamin Barrow, David Bruton Jr., Ryan Clady, Chris Clark, Ronnie Hillman, Will Montgomery, Manny Ramirez, Jacob Tamme, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Kayvon Webster and Derek Wolfe will all attempt to play.
The Broncos have ruled out linebacker Brandon Marshall (foot) for Sunday's regular season finale against Oakland. Defensive back T.J. Ward (neck), tackle Paul Cornick (toe) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (hip) were deemed questionable, while 16 players were deemed probable.
Those included running back C.J. Anderson (ankle), linebacker Lamin Barrows (illness), safety David Bruton Jr. (calf), tackle Ryan Clady (thigh), tackle Chris Clark (back), running back Ronnie Hillman (foot), Peyton Manning (thigh), center Will Montgomery (knee), center Manny Ramirez (illness), tight end Jacob Tamme (foot), wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (ankle, hip), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle), running back Juwan Thompson (hip, knee), defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (illness), cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder) and defensive end Derek Wolfe (knee).
The Broncos should have at least six players listed on the injury report for Week 2.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan is the only player to be ruled out for the game. Guard Ben Garland is doubtful, and safety David Bruton Jr. is considered questionable heading into the game.
The Broncos did list six players as probable, and should have them available Sunday. Ryan Clady, Chris Harris Jr., Nate Irving, Manny Ramirez, DeMarcus Ware and Kayvon Webster should all play Week 2.
Only two of the Broncos' offensive line positions are set, reports the Denver Post. Ryan Clady will start at left tackle, Louis Vasquez at right guard.
Manny Ramirez and Will Montgomery will compete at center, though Denver also could draft a rookie to start, the paper said. Orlando Franklin or Chris Clark will start at right tackle, and left guard will be manned by Ramirez or Franklin.
Several Broncos who were listed as probable on the injury report are active for the game vs. the Chiefs. They include defensive end Robert Ayers, linebacker Danny Trevathan, tight end Joel Dreessen (knee), offensive tackle Orlando Franklin (ankle), safety Duke Ihenacho (ankle), offensive tackle Winston Justice (finger), center Manny Ramirez (knee) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (thigh).
Broncos TE Joel Dreessen, OL Orlando Franklin, OL Chris Kuper, OL Manny Ramirez, OL J.D. Walton and LB Danny Trevathan are active Week 10 against the Chargers.
All four of the offensive lineup have been dealing with ankle injuries. Dreessen was sidelined by a knee injury. Trevathan had a rib issue.
Eleven Broncos are listed as probable on the injury report the team submitted Friday.
Among them are tight end Joel Dreessen (knee), tackle Orlando Franklin (ankle), guard Chris Kuper (ankle), running back Knowshon Moreno (ankle), center Manny Ramirez (knee), linebacker Danny Trevathan (ribs) and center J.D. Walton (ankle).
Broncos K Matt Prater, TE Joel Dreessen, CB Chris Harris, G Chris Kuper, LB Paris Lenon and C Manny Ramirez are active Week 6 against the Jaguars.
Chris Harris is the only player on the list who wasn't able to fully participate in practice every day this week. He did improve every day, though. After not practicing Wednesday, he was limited Thursday. He was able to get in a full practice Friday.
The Broncos listed a pair of offensive linemen on the injury report for Week 6 against the Jaguars, but neither is expected to miss Sunday's game. Center Manny Ramirez (ankle) and guard Chris Kuper (ankle) were both able to practice in full throughout the week, and are listed as probable for the game.
The Broncos are quite healthy heading into their Sunday game against Dallas. Only cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and linebacker Paris Lenon (thigh) have been designated as questionable.
The rest on their injured list are probable. They include wide receiver Eric Decker (shoulder/ankle), tight end Joel Dreessen (knee), guard Chris Kuper (ankle), placekicker Matt Prater (right calf), center Manny Ramirez (rib), linebacker Danny Trevathan (knee) and defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (neck).
The Broncos signed center Manny Ramirez to a contract extension that will go into effect following this season, the team announce Wednesday. Ramirez will be under contract through the 2015 season.
As expected, Manny Ramirez" data-canon="Manny Ramirez" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_PLAYER" id="shortcode0"> is working as the Broncos' starting center Monday. Dan Koppen tore his ACL in Sunday's practice, and J.D. Walton remains out following ankle surgeries.