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10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Could Lions trade up in first round of NFL Draft?

From time to time this offseason Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."

20man: The draft to me is always evaluated in a three-year window. Players develop at different rates in this league. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs, tight end Sam LaPorta and defensive back Brian Branch got an opportunity to play right away and were terrific from the start last year. It's easy to see how bright their future is.

I always caution people from making too early of conclusions on a player. Linebacker Derrick Barnes and safety Ifeatu Melifonwu are terrific examples of that. Both of those players took a little more time to develop but really took off in their third season. It just clicked for them and the game slowed down. Melifonwu had the interception to clinch the NFC North title and Barnes had the interception to send the Lions to the NFC Championship Game. They were both key contributors in Year 3.

This is the best roster Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell have had heading into the NFL Draft and I think if they come away with a few players who can compete for starting jobs or be contributors in the rotation it's a win, but the true evaluation of a player will take three years for me.

20man: Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn runs a versatile scheme that uses both man and zone schemes but something Campbell said at the Annual League Meetings last week kind of stuck with me when we were talking about the cornerback position.

He said at some point you want to pressure and be able to play man behind it and have the confidence you can do that. I think they'll prioritize players who can play man, something Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson have shown to be very capable of.

20man: It's a good question. Don't be surprised if Holmes still looks to bolster the safety position, whether that's in free agency with a veteran or in the draft.

"We're still going to look for safety help," Campbell said last week. "That's not over, either. We know we need some, there again, to bring in some competition in that room. So our eyes are there."

Melifonwu and Kerby Joseph appear to be the starters. Branch can play there, but they'd like to address the depth and competition.

20man: Holmes said after the season he wouldn't overlook the offensive line and he was true to his word in free agency with the signing of Kevin Zeitler and the re-signing of Graham Glasgow. I don't believe that comment was reserved for just free agency.

I think Holmes will look to bolster the line with depth in the draft and it's a good offensive line class overall at tackle and along the interior. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a player like Jackson Powers-Johnson or Graham Barton end up being the best player on their board if they make it to 29. That would add competition, depth and a long-term plan at center. There's real value in that at the end of the first round.

20man: Holmes has certainly shown a willingness to do so if there's a player at the top of his board who is clearly graded higher than the rest and the price isn't too steep to move up.

In terms of certain position groups, I think if we see a run on offensive players and some of the top-tier edge rushers start to drop that could motivate Holmes to move up to get a player who can make an immediate impact as part of the rotation opposite Aidan Hutchinson.

20man: I see them taking the best player on their board at the time they select. I know it's a boring answer but it's something Holmes believes in wholeheartedly and will never stray from.

"You guys know us by now," he said at the Annual League Meetings last week. "We are going to pick the best player. Free agency is a time to do that (fill needs). Free agency is a time to pull out the depth chart and start plugging holes.

"You guys have heard me talk openly about it that when it comes to the draft you can really make some mistakes when you're trying to reach for a need and you're really missing out on impact players."

I see the top of this draft being dominated by offense with quarterbacks and wide receivers. I think that will push some really good defensive players back in the first round and which will give Holmes and the Lions more options.

I would not be surprised at all if an offensive lineman or a wide receiver is the top player on the board at 29, but if the cornerbacks or pass rushers start to fall and the grades are similar that could offer more immediate help. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Either way, expect Holmes to trust his process and most importantly, his board.

20man: Holmes made it a point to talk about Houston at last week's meetings and how people are quick to forget he's coming back healthy in Year 3 after missing most of his second season with a broken ankle.

Not being able to capitalize on the success Houston had late in his rookie season seemed to bother him. I talked to him when he returned to practice and was close to returning to game action and he talked a little bit about the hurdle of just trusting the leg and his ability again.

Houston has rare speed and bend coming off the edge and something tells me he'll be very motivated to make an impact. The real question is can he develop into a three-down player or will he continue to be a specialized rusher? That will ultimately determine his true impact. How much did he develop his entire game this offseason?

20man: This is one of the best receiver drafts in the last decade, both with high-end talent and depth. This receiver class is the most talented and deep position group in the draft. I think there's going to be a point, either at No. 29 or some point in Day 2, where a receiver is going to be the best player on the board.

Say what you want about the NFC Championship Game, but Josh Reynolds was a reliable playmaker for quarterback Jared Goff throughout his time here. That kind of trust isn't easily replaced. Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams are No. 1 and No. 2. People always forget about Kalif Raymond, but he's got 130 receptions for 1,681 yards over the last three seasons in Detroit. Plus the return of Donovan Peoples-Jones and the fact that Antoine Green is entering Year 2, which is where players typically take their biggest leap.

But I will not be surprised at all if the Lions come away with a receiver with one of their first three picks. It's such a good class and adding more competition for reps in that room will make everyone better.

20man: I'd venture a guess and say sometime this summer. When you get to talking about the kind of money it takes to sign a top tier quarterback it can get pretty pricey and pretty complicated. I'm looking toward summer. I think St. Brown gets done this summer too.

20man: I got three for you. Taking a quarterback, running back or linebacker with any of their current three picks in the top 73 would definitely leave me scratching my head.

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