INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL's general managers and head coaches kicked things off at the Scouting Combine Tuesday with media sessions. Both Lions GM Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell were available.
Here are 10 takeaways from those sessions:
1. Where is this draft class particularly strong in Holmes' eyes? And how might that align with some of Detroit's needs? Holmes listed interior defensive line, wide receiver, cornerback and safety as position groups he views as strong in this draft class. It just so happens that two of Detroit's biggest needs are at receiver and safety.
2. The Lions are still going to have some three-down principles in their defense, but Campbell confirmed Tuesday Detroit will be more of a four-down defensive front in 2022 which will better fit their personnel. Campbell said he likes the flexibility a four-man front will give his defense. He talked about second-year defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike specifically, and his ability to play three technique to nose to defensive end. This new structure will help facilitate some of that versatility and flexibility.
3. What is Holmes looking for this week from some of the top prospects who could be in the running at No. 2? He was specifically asked about Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson.
"Just hopefully comes down here and I hope he competes," Holmes said. "From what I know of him it seems like he's that type of guy. He's a local guy, he's from Detroit, plays hard, had a very productive year. We'll get whatever questions answered ... this week and going forward."
4. Campbell said getting a No. 1-caliber receiver on the outside will really help the efficiency of the Lions' offense moving forward. Campbell made it pretty clear adding an outside receiver is one thing they want to accomplish this offseason, whether that's through free agency, the draft or both.
5. When the Lions were out in LA playing the Rams this past year, Holmes attended an Oregon at UCLA game. Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux had three sacks and six pressures in front of Holmes that day. Holmes said Tuesday Thibodeaux was a really good prospect. It seemed to me he was playing it a little coy not to give anything away on what he might have learned watching Thibodeaux that day.
6. Where are cornerback Jeff Okudah and edge rusher Romeo Okwara at in their recoveries from Achilles injuries?
"Both of those guys we feel like right now are right where they need to be," Campbell said. "As long as everything stays the course with their recovery then we should have them hopefully by training camp, at least in a limited basis."
Campbell said he still sees Okudah as a cornerback, but is always open for any move that's best for the team.
7. Holmes and the Lions utilized a lot of one-year deals in free agency last year. It was a new regime, and Detroit didn't have a ton of cap space to work with.
Holmes and his staff are in a much better place this offseason with a year under their belt. He also has more resources at his disposal. I expect to see more long-term deals dished out by Holmes in free agency this year. That's not to say there won't be one-year deals mixed in there too.
View photos from media availability at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 in Indianapolis.
8. Campbell said he still hasn't made a decision on whether he or new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will call plays next year. He said he's got plenty of time to figure it out. Johnson, who also spoke to local media Tuesday in Indianapolis, said he'll be ready for whatever Campbell decides.
9. The measurables and 40-yard dash times get a lot of headlines this week, but Holmes still likes the tape. He utilizes GPS tracking info and hand-timed runs and electronic times, but at the end of the day, he always challenges his staff to tell him how fast a player is on film. Holmes thinks a team shouldn't have to wait to evaluate a player on what he runs on a clock. If the clock doesn't confirm the tape, it's just more work they have to do on the prospect.
10. The Lions will probably add a linebacker or two this offseason, and Campbell said the move to more of a four-down scheme upfront will allow them to play more downhill, which is something Campbell wants to see more of from that position in 2022.