10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: What position should Lions target in free agency?

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

20man: The offensive line played better the second half of the season, but that was still the biggest deficiency on this football team this past season. Detroit was last running the football and allowed 44 sacks, which ranked in the bottom 10 of the league.

The tackle position is in need of an upgrade. This is expected to be a nice free-agent class of experienced tackles heading into their primes. Expected free agents Cordy Glenn (Buffalo), Russell Okung (Seattle), Andre Smith (Cincinnati), Donald Penn (Oakland), Kelvin Beachum (Pittsburgh) and Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland) could all immediately bolster Detroit's line.

If Quinn is going to open the wallet, I'd like to see him spend on a tackle.

20man: Good question.

If Stafford had a semblance of a defense in 2011, it would have been fun to see what that team could have accomplished. I mean, New Orleans didn't punt once in that playoff blowout.

Stafford threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011, but had 16 interceptions and an interception rate of 2.4 percent.

During the second half of 2015, Stafford completed 70 percent of his passes and led the NFL with a 0.7 percent interception rate. That was better than Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. He threw 19 touchdowns vs. just two interceptions.

I'd rather have the 2015 Stafford who took care of the football and was very efficient. The Lions already have some nice pieces on defense and GM Bob Quinn is only going to add to them.

20man: I have six I'd focus on:

Haloti Ngata, DT: Ngata battled through some injuries early in the season but came on strong the second half of the year. He was a big part of the defense being much better against the run the last two months of the season.

Isa Abdul-Quddus, S: The Lions defense was better when Abdul-Quddus, 26, took over starting duties at strong safety the second half of the season. He has good speed, he can cover and he's a better tackler than most probably thought he'd be.

Tahir Whitehead, LB: The Lions have a need at middle linebacker and Whitehead has shown he can be productive there. He's versatile, and was one of the defense's most consistent performers the second half of the season.

Tyrunn Walker, DT: Walker broke his leg and dislocated his ankle Week 4 in Seattle. The Lions had big plans for Walker in 2015 after signing him to a one-year deal last offseason. He's smart and versatile. If he comes back good as new, he'd be a good re-signing at a position of need.

Jason Jones, DE: Jones is a versatile defender that does a good job setting the edge in the run game. His 4.5 sacks were third on the team behind Ziggy Ansah (14.5) and Devin Taylor (7.0).

Don Muhlbach: The Lions have the money to spend a little extra on a vested veteran like Muhlbach. He's not as great in coverage heading into year 13, but he's a reliable snapper, who has a good rapport with Matt Prater and Sam Martin.

20man: I don't think so. Glover Quin is still a terrific leader for this team on and off the field.

DeAndre Levy, Josh Bynes and Matthew Stafford are all established veteran leaders.

Look for Ziggy Ansah to take on more of a leadership role in 2016, too. His teammates respect his abilities and he started becoming a more vocal component both in the locker room and on the sideline this past season.

20man: I talked to Tate at the Super Bowl and he was certainly very confident in his abilities to be the man if called upon.

I just look back to the 2014 season.

Calvin Johnson was either extremely limited or missed games from Week's 4-8. Over that span, Tate surpassed 100 yards receiving in four of the five games. He averaged nearly eight catches and 119 yards over that five-week span.

Can he keep that up over a 16-game schedule? He certainly has the ability and the mental makeup.

20man: As I mentioned above, offensive tackle is No. 1 for me and there's potentially a nice class of free agents who will be available.

We could also see a really nice class of cornerbacks available, depending on what happens over the next couple weeks.

The Lions have some nice young talent at cornerback, but Darius Slay is now the elder statesman of the group in his fourth season. In most cases, teams can't count on rookie cornerbacks to come in and help right away — that's fairly rare in this league.

The Lions are expected to upgrade the position with a veteran. The free agent class could consist of players like Josh Norman (Carolina), Sean Smith (Kansas City), Janoris Jenkins (Los Angeles), Trumaine Johnson (Los Angeles), Casey Hayward (Green Bay) and others. They'll come with a price tag, but the Lions have the cash.

Landing one of the top tackles and top corners, along with re-signing guys like Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker would be a big win in free agency, in my opinion.

I'm with you, Bradley.

20man: Draft analyst Mike Mayock has strong opinions about this.

It's time. The Lions have a coaching staff littered with guys who made their mark in this league by working with and developing quarterbacks – Jim Caldwell (HC), Jim Bob Cooter (OC) and Brian Callahan (QB).

Drafting a young quarterback the Lions can groom in their system makes sense. He becomes a reliable backup in a year or two and potentially an asset to other teams.

I'd expect the Lions to sign a veteran and draft or sign a rookie.

20man: His physical skills (size and speed) allowed him to be a third-round pick last year.

Unfortunately, he was only able to practice for 21 days as rookie because of an injury.

This is similar to what happened with Nevin Lawson, who played in just one game as a rookie in 2014 before suffering a gruesome foot injury. In his second season, which was really his rookie season, Lawson was thrust into a starting role and really held his own. Heading into 2016, he's very much in the mix to start opposite Slay. The Lions hope Carter bounces back in similar fashion.

This is a crucial offseason and training camp for Carter, who the Lions view as an outside corner.

20man: I could see the Lions adding a power back this offseason to compete with Zach Zenner for the job.

Lions coaches love Zenner, and he'll be 100 percent ready to go this offseason after a rib injury ended his 2015 season early, but competition is a good thing.

I'd expect Ameer Abdullah to carry a big load and Theo Riddick continue to be a terrific weapon out of the backfield in the passing game.

Zenner and a player not yet on the roster will compete for that power-back role.

20man: That will be a tough call for Quinn and other GMs around the league.

If not for the knee injury Smith suffered in Notre Dame's bowl game, he would have been a Top 3 pick, potentially the No. 1 overall pick. He has everything teams love – size, speed, instincts and cover ability.

However, he's not expected to play in 2016 because of the severity of his injury. Will Quinn be ok with giving him a redshirt season? Will Lions fans?

If the answer to that is yes, and Smith comes back the same player, then the Lions could potentially have two versatile, three-down linebackers in Smith and DeAndre Levy.

The Combine re-check medicals on Smith next month will be crucial.

It's a tough call, but if the medicals check out, it might be one I'd make to get a Top 3 talent at 16.

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