LIONS INSIDER

10 Questions with Twentyman: Why hasn't cornerback been discussed more for the No. 5 pick?

Posted Apr 7, 2013

Detroitlions.com Insider Tim Twentyman answers fan questions from the week including is Jason Hanson a future Hall of Famer? And why haven't the Lions re-signed Corey Williams or Lawrence Jackson yet?

Every week during the season I do a live chat on Detroitlions.com sponsored by Huntington Bank. I'll continue to chat from time-to-time this offseason as important dates come up (Super Bowl, free agency, draft, etc. ...).

I can never get to all the questions in the chat because of the time constraints and the fact that I'm not the world's fastest typist. The nature of online chats don't lend themselves to expansive answers, either.

So, after each chat, I'll pick 10 good questions that I either didn't get to or would like to expand upon. I might also throw in a few here and there from my Twitter account, @ttwentyman

Q. Why isn't cornerback being talked about more for the Lions at No. 5? From Tom12

A. Alabama's Dee Milliner has been linked to the Lions in a number of Mock drafts and the Lions are expected to take a closer look at him in the pre-draft process in the coming weeks.

I'm not in the group of people who think cornerback is a pressing need for this team, though. The re-signing of Chris Houston was key for me and he's the No. 1 guy. He's very solid and proved last year he could handle that role.

Chris HoustonCB Chris Houston

The Lions spent considerable resources drafting Bill Bentley (third round), Chris Greenwood (fifth round) and Jonte Green (sixth round) last year. All three players are expected to be a factor this year.

There's usually a big step forward in the development of defensive players – particularly those in the secondary – from year one to two. I for one want to see what that development looks like and try to sure up a few other positions like defensive end and offensive line, which I view as bigger needs at this point.

Bentley earned a starting role last year with a bum shoulder. He's healthy, he's been around Allen Park all offseason, and he's going to be better.

Greenwood is a huge wildcard. I don't think you can sit here and expect him to be a starter at this point, having missed his rookie season because of injury, but I've had more than one person within the organization tell me to keep an eye on him this spring.

Green was a lot better than most probably thought a six-round pick would have been last year. He, too, will be better.

Let's not forget that both Jim Schwartz and Gunther Cunningham like veteran cornerback Ron Bartell, who'll also be back in 2013.

The Lions can always us more depth at corner, and if a starter falls into their lap, then more power to them, but I think there are at least three other positions (DE, OL, WR) that are more of a need than cornerback right now.

Q. Should Hanson be in the Hall of Fame? From Curtis

A. My colleague Mike O'Hara wrote a terrific column about this Friday morning and I tend to agree with him on most points.

The Hall of Fame doesn't like inducting kickers, for whatever reason, and there are probably three kickers who deserve to go ahead of Hanson right now.

Morten Andersen, the all-time leader in games played (382), points scored (2,544) and field goals made (565) has never been given serious consideration. Neither has Gary Anderson, second on the list in points and field goals.

I'd guess the next kicker to get in would be Adam Vinatieri, who has three Super Bowl rings and won two of those directly on his kicks.

Hanson will see his number retired at Ford Field, but I doubt he'll ever make it to Canton.

Q. Are the Lions going to sign an offensive tackle or should I fall on my knees and pray Eric Fisher falls to them at No. 5? From Jeff Quinlan

A. I don't see the Lions bringing in a veteran lineman via free agency over the next couple weeks. One, because they don't have a lot of cap room, two, because they like the three players they have in Riley Reiff, Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard.

The Lions are in a good position. They aren't desperate for a tackle with those three players under contract, but if a player like Fisher or Luke Joeckel is there at No. 5, and he's at the top of their draft board, then it gives them options. They can then move Reiff over to the right side and possibly fill a need at guard or tackle over there.

It's a nice position to be in for the Lions. They have options and aren't in a position where they are desperate to take a tackle if a player at another position is ranked higher on their board.

Q. Is C.J. Mosley a quality replacement for Corey Williams and Sammie Lee Hill? From Tony Mottley.

A. The stat that jumped out to me most about Mosley was his 45 tackles last season. That's a good amount of tackles in 13 starts and shows that he knows how to find the football. That's what I want in a backup tackle. A player who'll still be around the football a lot.

I got a chance to talk with him Wednesday after he signed his two-year deal and I get the sense that he plays the game with a lot of physicality and with a bad attitude. I think that's a little different of a dynamic that Williams and Hill brought. I think it might fit more with new assistant defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Expect the Lions to still add a body or two at the position, but Mosley seems to be a good fit as a backup with starters experience.

Q. What happened to the WR the Lions picked up from Jacksonville last year? From Chris Cow

A. I believe you're referring to Mike Thomas, whom the team traded for midseason. Thomas is signed through 2013 and will be in the mix as a slot receiver and a kick returner.

Thomas admittedly struggled a bit picking up a new system midseason and was looking forward to an offseason to learn the scheme.

With Ryan Broyles (knee) and Nate Burleson (broken leg) coming off injury, the Lions could rely on Thomas. He's likely to show fans a little more of his ability than he did last year now that he'll be able to just go out there and play and not be thinking so much.

Thomas had more than 40 catches in each of his first three seasons in the league.

Q. Do you think a speedy running back will still figure into the draft? From Vince

A. I think the Lions still need some insurance for Reggie Bush.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said his biggest regret last year was not having a backup plan for Jahvid Best. Well, the Lions don't currently have a backup plan in case Bush gets hurt, either.

I think there are some good speed backs in this draft that can be gotten in the middle to late rounds.

The Lions already brought in Onterio McCalebb (4.34 40-yard dash) for a pre-draft visit and other players like Arkansas' Knile Davis (4.37), UCLA's Jonathan Franklin (4.49), Utah State's Kerwynn Williams (4.48) and Oregon's Kenjon Barner (4.52) could all be names in the later portion of the draft that fit.

Q. Do you see the lions resigning Brandon Pettigrew or Tony Scheffler when they expire? From Mike in NJ

Tony SchefflerTE Tony Scheffler

A. I can certainly see them making a play for Pettigrew. He had 59 catches last year in 14 games, but had 83 in 2011 and 71 in 2010 when he played in all 16 games.

He's a big body, who makes a lot of catches across the middle of the field and he is only 28 years old.

The Lions love Scheffler's versatility, too, and he only turned 30 in February.

However, If they had to choose one, and then maybe develop a younger player to fill the other role, I suspect they'd try to re-sign Pettigrew and draft another tight end.

Q. Why haven't we seen Corey Williams or Lawrence Jackson re-signed yet? From Motown

A. I think the easy answer there is that the Lions are probably looking for younger, cheaper upgrades.

I'm not sure what the status of Williams' knee is, but that could be a factor there.

Jackson has expressed interest in coming back and it doesn't appear he'd be too expensive, so I'm not sure what the deal is there, other than maybe the Lions are looking for a younger upgrade. The Lions have Jackson's phone number and can always call if they don't get what they're looking for.

It seems to me the Lions are looking to get a little younger and maybe develop some drafted players with high ceilings.

Q. If they are all there in the second round, whom do you take Damontre Moore, Alex Okafor or Tank Carradine? From Billy

I really like Moore's production in college. Everyone knocks him for the combine numbers, but Jared Allen didn't test well at the combine, either. The game film should always be the No. 1 determining factor if a kid can play or not.

Moore had 85 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in the SEC last year.

Okafor had a good year on a bad Texas defense with 12.5 sacks. He also looked good down at the Senior Bowl.

Carradine had 11 sacks last year, but had the benefit of playing along a terrific Florida State defensive line with a lot of NFL talent on it.

My first thought is Moore, but Okafor might actually be the best fit for the Lions with his combination of speed and power.

Q. Could they draft defensive tackle at No. 5? From Myron

A. It's not as outrageous of a thought as some might initially think. I think if the Lions do draft a defensive tackle that early he'd have to be far and away the top player on their board. In that scenario, the two best tackles are probably off the board, as well as the top pass rusher.

Ndamukong Suh has only two years left on his deal and Nick Fairley hasn't played a full 16-game season through his first two seasons. That being said, Suh and Fairley are the main guys in 2013.

With the Lions looking for immediate impact performers on defense, it seems an unlikely route to go defensive tackle at No. 5, but I've learned over the last couple years that all options are on the table for the Lions and Mayhew will always trust his draft board.