LIONS INSIDER

10 Questions with Twentyman

Posted Apr 14, 2012

Lions Insider Tim Twentyman answers 10 questions from his weekly live chat

Every week I try and do a live chat on Detroitlions.com but I can never get to all the questions because of the time constraints and the fact that I'm not the world's fasted typist. The nature of online chats don't lend themselves to expansive answers, either.

So, each week, I'll pick 10 good questions that I either didn't get to or would like to expand upon.

Q. Tim, I believe DE is a bigger need than CB. Am I wrong? From Alek

A. That really depends if you're talking long term or short term.

I think the Lions are pretty solid at defensive end with Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young in 2012. That being said, Jackson, Young (restricted) and Avril (franchise tag) will be free agents next year and Vanden Bosch will turn 34 during the season.

It's realistic to think the Lions could lose Avril (if a long-term deal doesn't get done this offseason) and Jackson in free agency next offseason and have Vanden Bosch entering the last year of his deal.

If the Lions select a defensive end in this year's draft, he's probably a rotational guy in 2012, but he could be a starter in a year or two for a team that values pass rushers.

I think getting a cornerback like Dre Kirkpatrick or Stephon Gilmore adds depth to the unit and throws another player into the mix for that starting right cornerback spot. I think getting a cornerback of the future is important, but pass rushers are more valuable in the long run.

I don't think the Lions can really go wrong either way.

Q. OK Tim, you're now Martin Mayhew and we're on the clock with Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn, and Mike Adams on the board. Who are you taking? From Trent

A. First off, I'm demanding Mayhew's paycheck. Second, there's no way this scenario happens. But I'll play along. I think you're always looking to get the best player at his position and Barron is the best safety in this draft.

I look back to 2009 when the Lions were able to get the top quarterback (Matthew Stafford), top tight end (Brandon Pettigrew) and top safety (Louis Delmas) in that draft.

Whenever a team can get the best player at any position, especially at a position that's considered a need, it's a great situation. That is especially the case picking 23rd.

Q. Tim, is their any chance of a new kicker coming our way? From Matt

A. I don't think the Lions draft a kicker, but I'd expect one to be in camp to compete with Jason Hanson. It should be the same situation as last year when Dave Rayner was in camp.

In fact, Hanson is expecting the competition.

"Unfortunately, I'm just at the age where you're always suspicious," Hanson said at the end of last year.

"I wish it was the luxury of me saying 'Hey, I'm coming back' and then it's just me, but that's never how it's going to be. I don't know what they're going to do but I'll be working to be the guy again."

Hanson had little trouble beating out Rayner last year and went on to make 24-of-29 field goals last season.

"I hopefully showed them that I know what I'm doing and, if healthy, I can do it," Hanson said. "But there is always competition."

All I know is I see Hanson here at the facility almost every day. The guy is dedicated, even at 41.

Q. Can the Lions really afford to go another draft without addressing OL? From Steve

A. They could go one more year without drafting one with all five starters returning from last year's team and Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox in reserve.

However, I suspect they'll address a growing need upfront this year, and that could come as early as the first round.

The Lions could address left tackle by selecting Mike Adams (Ohio State) or Jonathan Martin (Stanford) at No. 23. If David guard DeCastro (Stanford) or guard/tackle Cordy Glenn (Georgia) are still around, they could also address that need in the first round.

The Lions have brought in seven offensive line prospects for pre-draft visits and I take that to mean they're serious about adding talent and depth upfront.

Q. How is Titus Young looking this offseason? I am hoping to see big things from him this year. From Guest

A. I haven't seen Young around the facility this offseason, but I suspect he's worked hard and kept himself in great shape. He should be around Monday for the first day of the offseason training program.

I talked to Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan this offseason and he's excited about Young's opportunities this upcoming season opposite Calvin Johnson.

"He's a dangerous match-up for other teams," Linehan said of Young. "To me, he might be the biggest match-up (advantage) we can continue to grow with the way people defend Calvin.

"When he gets on the outside part of the field, he can get behind the defense, and if you have that opposite a player like Calvin, that's really when you got something."

I expect Young to have a huge season with the benefit of an offseason this year, something he wasn't afforded as a rookie.

Q. Tim, at around pick No. 23 with the potential OT prospects that could be available, who is someone who you think can be a good fit for the Lions? From Alek

A. A lot of analysts have pegged Georgia's Cordy Glenn as a guard at the next level because of his size (6-5, 345), but I don't think people should close the door on him playing tackle.

He carries his weight exceptionally well. He has great feet and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.96 seconds at the combine, which shows substantial athleticism for a guy that size.

Glenn has a skill set to play both guard and tackle and I think he could play either and be an upgrade for the Lions at either. I really like Glenn, but I fear he won't be there at 23.
If the Lions like him as much as I do, they'll probably have to move up to get him.

Q. Which group has greater depth in the draft: OL or CB? From Nic

A. I'd say CB

The offensive line class isn't as deep at tackle as it is at guard and center. There are probably four starting-caliber left tackles right away in the NFL and a handful of others who could step in on the right side.

I think teams will be able to grab quality guards and centers that could help right away into the third and fourth rounds.

I believe there could be as many as 12 cornerbacks who could come in and help a team next season. I'm not saying there's 12 starting corners in this draft, but there are a lot of guys who can get on the field right away in passing situations and help teams. I think that's good for a Lions team looking for talent and depth at the position.

Q. Lions need a 3rd string QB, do you think they would spend a mid-round draft pick on a clipboard holding guy or sign a veteran off the street? From Guest

A. I don't know if I'd go as high as a mid-round pick. Remember, the Lions don't have a sixth-round pick, so you're talking a fourth- or fifth-round pick in the middle of the draft. I'd rather see the Lions use a seventh-round pick on a quarterback, or sign a developmental player as an undrafted rookie free agent. I don't think they need another veteran.

Like you said, whoever they get is hopefully holding a clipboard and running the scout team for a few years, but you still want to get a player who can step in and play in an emergency. We saw how important that was in 2010.

I think players like Ryan Lindley or B.J. Coleman make sense late in the draft, but there will also be some players who fit the mold after the draft, too.

Q. Do you feel a trade is in order for Cliff Avril? What do you think we could get for him? From Juma

A. I don't think the Lions should be in the business of trading away good young players. The roster is finally at a point where it's becoming difficult to keep good players and that's a good problem to have.

Look, all the consistently good teams go through this. Avril is a darn good player and he plays a position that gets paid in this league.

Let's hope a long-term deal can get worked out, but if it can't, I think you still want Avril running after Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler for the Lions this season. Then you go back at it again next offseason.

Q. Tim you were so high on Leshoure … does his recent troubles change that opinion? From Tyler

A. Everybody makes mistakes. It's certainly disappointing he made the same mistake twice in less than a month, but I expect him to have one or two veterans in his ear come Monday when the team begins it's offseason training program.

What happened a couple weeks ago doesn't change my opinion of him as a football player. I was out there for the first two weeks of training camp last year and he caught my eye more than anyone. He was really going to have a big year if he didn't get hurt.

I think if he's 100-percent healthy, which he expects to be, I think he makes the offense a lot better.

As for the pot, I'd be surprised if it's an issue moving forward.