10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: What is the Lions' most pressing need heading into the 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: I don't have access to Detroit's draft board, unfortunately, but I can answer this in terms of two players I think would be a great fit and also offer terrific value at No. 7.

First is wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who just blew up his pro day Wednesday with a 41-inch vertical and a 40 time of 4.38 seconds after catching 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2019 (he opted out in 2020). I think he's the best receiver in the class, and could potentially have the same kind of impact as former LSU teammate and current Vikings WR Justin Jefferson, who had a terrific rookie season with 88 catches, 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns.

The other one for me is Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. The selection of Sewell, arguably the best tackle in the draft, would solidify Detroit's offensive line for years to come. Getting the best offensive lineman at No. 7 is terrific value.

20man: Good question, because I view those two groups as the biggest positions of need, with cornerback a close third.

I'd probably lean toward linebacker. Jamie Collins Sr. is back, and I like the signing of Alex Anzalone, but there's still a lot of question marks at linebacker after that. 

The problem is the value at No. 7 with the linebackers. It might be a touch high for a guy like Penn State's Micah Parsons or Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, arguably the two best prospects at LB. It will really just depend on the Lions' grading of both prospects. If Detroit moves back out of the top 10, I think the value is probably a little better there for those guys.

During a national conference call with NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who I think is one of the best draft analysts in the business, Jeremiah said this is a very deep class of off-the-ball linebackers. He said there will be guys taken well into Day 2 that can make an immediate impact.

We all know how stacked the receiver class is too, so this is a great draft for a team that needs receivers and linebackers.

20man: I talked about the linebackers above. That's a need, and this is a good draft to get some help there. Lions GM Brad Holmes said he really likes this class of safeties, and I'd expect the Lions to add at least one young safety to compete with Will Harris and Tracy Walker.

There's also some talent in this draft at cornerback, which is still a need in Detroit. The Lions need a nickel corner and depth behind Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye.

Where this draft is weak is along the defensive line. There's not an elite pass rusher, and this might be the weakest interior defensive line class in a while. That's why we saw the Lions attack their needs along the defensive line in free agency. Re-signing Romeo Okwara and trading for Michael Brockers were good moves to help solidify the Lions' defensive front. It's a good example of how free agency and the draft are related.

20man: I would be a little surprised if the Lions took a quarterback at No. 7.

20man: I asked a contact in Atlanta about this one and got this response: "I can't for the life of me figure it out."

That certainly adds some intrigue to the pick. After the 49ers moved up to No. 3, likely to select a quarterback, the draft starts to get interesting at No. 4 with Atlanta. Ryan will be 36 in May. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,581 yards last year with 26 touchdowns and 11 picks. Atlanta was better than their record indicated last year. They had some brutal last-minute losses, including the Lions game.

My gut tells me they don't take a quarterback and try to make a quick turnaround with Ryan at the helm. Imagine an offense in Atlanta that features Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts.

20man: Man, that's a tough one. Chase is the best receiver, in my opinion. Pitts is the best matchup weapon. Sewell is the best tackle. I'd probably go Chase if I'm staying at No. 7, but I really can't go wrong with all three.

I think adding Chase and his 4.38 speed and production to the receiver room that added more speed in free agency with Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman would really go a long way to helping quarterback Jared Goff settle in nicely in Detroit. Add tight end T.J. Hockenson and running back D’Andre Swift into the equation, and the Lions have some nice elements at the skill positions on offense.

If Chase, Pitts and Sewell are all available at No. 7, then I'm probably staying there and picking because I think all three are impact players and the best at their respective positions.

20man: I think Goff is the guy for at least the next two seasons. How he plays over that span will show whether he's the guy long-term or not.

20man: I took those remarks as Spielman talking more about how the game has changed defensively to more of an outside game. With the talent in this league at receiver, tight end and with backs that can catch 100 balls a year. The Lions need to have corners, safeties and linebackers who can run and cover.

Offensively, you can still be physical and want to run the ball. You certainly want your defensive line to be physical and to be able to stop the run.

But this is a game now where you have to be able to run at the linebacker position (see Tampa Bay) and have corners and safeties that can cover. That's how I viewed those remarks.

20man: That's a great question and a valid point. It really just comes down to the grade Holmes has on receivers like Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith compared to the rest of the class. If the grades are pretty close among a larger group of receivers, then maybe you look to a different spot to address at the top of the draft and look at receiver on Day 2.

But if you think one of those receivers is elite, and there's a bit of a drop-off in grade to the next set of players at the position, then there's value in taking one of those guys at No. 7.

It really just comes down to your own grading system and trusting your board.

20man: I think the Lions will ultimately have a group of guys that includes Chase, Waddle, Smith, Pitts, Sewell, quarterback Mac Jones and Parsons available at No. 7.

If Jones is still available, there's a chance a quarterback-needy team could want to move up. That's probably Detroit's best opportunity to move back. Moving back into the lower teens does put more players into the value chart and also gives Detroit some more draft capital. That's a win-win in my book, but I'm also okay staying at No. 7 and taking a player Holmes feels is an immediate impact guy.

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