10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Which players are primed for breakout seasons?

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: You can't replace a player like Calvin Johnson. Just can't do it. What the Lions will try to do, however, is attempt to match that production from different sources.

They expect Golden Tate to produce more like he did in 2014 when Johnson missed three games and was limited in a number of others. Tate averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game in the contests Johnson missed, and finished with 99 receptions and 1,331 yards that season. He also made the Pro Bowl.

The newly acquired Marvin Jones will play a big role too. He's been a target of GM Bob Quinn's dating back to October. He can do a lot of different things for an offense.

Eric Ebron is expected to continue to increase his production, just like he did from year one to two.

Theo Riddick could be an even bigger part of the passing game out of the backfield and in the slot moving forward.

Jim Bob Cooter's offense is predicated on creating favorable matchups and spreading the ball around. Johnson certainly helped create some of those matchups for other players, which will be missed. His presence in the red zone will also be tough to replace.

Look, the Lions will feel the sting of Johnson's absence, but I don't believe it will be as significant as others think. This offense has guys who can make plays, especially after the catch. If they improve the talent upfront, get more out of their rushing offense, and get steady contributions from a number of skill positions in the passing game, they'll be fine.

That's quite a few ifs, but I like what Cooter has been able to do in a short time. I think he'll put together a pretty good plan for the pieces he has.

20man: I expect second-year running back Ameer Abdullah to be much better. He's a smart guy and he works at it. He improved the second half of the season -- averaged 4.7 yards per attempt the last eight games -- after getting past some fumbling issues, and I expect that progression to continue.

I can see Tahir Whitehead having a lot of success at the MIKE in 2016. He told me after last season that he preferred to play the MIKE over the SAM, and Quinn said down at the NFL League Meetings last month they re-signed him to play MIKE. Playing alongside a healthy DeAndre Levy and behind a healthy Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker will allow him to make plays. If he stays healthy, I expect him to be a 100-plus tackler.

Devin Taylor was second on this team with seven sacks last season. He was a bit raw coming into the league in 2013 and now has learned how to use his hands and his leverage to his advantage. He could get an opportunity to start opposite Ziggy Ansah in 2016, which means a lot of one-on-one matchups with fewer chips or help to his side (that tend to go Ansah's direction). Also, don't discount that this could be a contract year for Taylor, who's entering the final year of his rookie deal. Double-digit sack guys get paid in this league.

20man: Look, Quinn isn't married to any player who was added to this roster before his arrival. The top guys will make the final 53 and will play.

Last year, the Lions kept five defensive tackles and five defensive ends out of training camp. Every year is different, obviously, and it depends on the numbers game at other spots, but that's the model I'll go with for the sake of this response.

If the Lions do draft a defensive tackle, depending on where he's drafted, I'd expect him to fit into the rotation with Stefan Charles and Caraun Reid behind starters Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker.

I know what you're thinking. What about Gabe Wright? The Lions gave up a third-round pick this year to move up in the fourth round last year to select him. But guess what? Quinn didn't make that move. Martin Mayhew did, and he's in New York working for the Giants now.

Coaches don't have the luxury of spending a lot of time on developmental players. That was evident last year when the team released another recent fourth-round defensive lineman, Larry Webster. That's just the nature of the business. Wright has potential, but if the Lions use a high draft pick on a defensive tackle, he'll need to impress big-time in training camp.

20man: If you really think about it, it shouldn't have much impact at all.

I always assumed Tennessee was going to take Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil at No. 1. They moved back to get a haul of picks and can still get the second or third best tackle available in Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin, if that's what they want to do.

So, it essentially didn't change anything for the Lions. A tackle-needy team in front of the Lions is still in front of them. The only thing that changed is the prospect available for Tennessee at No. 15 vs. No. 1.

20man: Quinn said last month that his focus was free agency, then the draft and then he'd worry about the extensions of some of his talented young players on this roster.

Don't forget the Lions have until May 2 to pick up the fifth-year option on Ansah's rookie contract at a cost of about $13 million for the 2017 season.

I'm sure Quinn and Co. will discuss an Ansah extension, but the priority could be on players like Darius Slay, Sam Martin and Theo Riddick, all of whom are entering the final year of their rookie contracts. You can throw Larry Warford and Devin Taylor into that conversation as well.

Ansah is obviously one of the corner pieces to this future roster puzzle, but the Lions have some flexibility with him because they control his contract for another season.

20man: I think Tunsil is going to be a terrific player, but moving from No. 16, to let's say No. 3, will cost a lot.

According the Draft Trade Chart, the No. 3 pick is worth 2,200 points. The No. 16 pick is worth 1,000. The Lions would have to make up the 1,200-point difference for it to even be discussed.

Their second-round pick (No. 46) is worth only 400 points. They can't trade their third-round compensatory pick. Their fourth rounder (No. 111) is worth only 72 points.

To make up the difference, the Lions would likely have to throw in a first-round pick next year, along with their second-round pick this year just to get the values close.

Is it worth it? If you think this team is a left tackle away from contending, maybe it is. I happen to believe this roster needs a little bit more than that.

I like Ronnie Stanley better than Conklin. If he starts to fall and we're talking just a few spots to move up, I'd consider it, but I'm still not a big fan. I'd take the value pass rusher at 16 and look offensive line after that with a player like Jason Spriggs from Indiana or Germain Ifedi of Texas A&M.

But that's just me.

20man: Bust? I think that's too strong a word at this point.

Has he been a little disappointing for a second-round pick? I'll give you that.

I have a pretty steadfast rule when it comes to player development. I give them three years. If a player hasn't shown what he's capable of by year three, it's likely he never will.

That being said, this is a big year for Van Noy entering year three in the league. He's played a role on special teams, but I'm guessing he'll be right in the thick of the competition for the starting SAM linebacker spot.

Caldwell said at the end of last season that Van Noy was "trending up." We'll see in training camp where he fits into the mix.

20man: Snubbed? I wouldn't say they were snubbed. The Lions were awarded last year for an 11-win season and a trip to the playoffs in 2014 with six nationally televised games last season.

The team proceeded to start 1-7 and was out of the playoff picture by December. Teams that go 7-9 and miss the playoffs don't get awarded with a lot of primetime games, especially when their best player retires before the schedule comes out.

It's not all bad. Following the Indianapolis opener at 4:25 p.m., the Lions have 13 games in a row that start at 1 p.m. (Thanksgiving is 12:30 p.m.). That's perfect for building a routine -- Not a lot of short weeks or trying to adjust the body clock.

20man: It's really hard to answer that question, Chad, because this is Quinn's first time running the draft. There's no pattern to study.

I really think he's open to anything. Having the 10 picks will allow him to package picks and move up to get a player he feels strongly about.

He's also made it very clear that improving the talent and depth on this football team is priority No. 1. Having 10 picks will allow him to do that.

Look, he's got the picks, let's sit back and see what he does with them. He's got a lot of options.

20man: Look no further than Showtime Tate.

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