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5 things to watch: 2024 NFL Scouting Combine

The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine starts this week and by the end of the event the 32 teams in the NFL will have all the medical data and on-field testing numbers for the 321 draft-eligible participants here in Indianapolis. It's a big step in the pre-draft process with pro days and player visits to team facilities next up.

Here's a look at five things to watch as the Lions' front office, coaching and medical personnel prepare for the annual evaluation for most of this year's NFL Draft prospects:

1. Holmes and Campbell availability

Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell are expected to speak to the media in Indianapolis.

Holmes made it clear after the season that his main focus is continuing to build the roster through the draft and taking care of some contracts coming due for their own players.

Another area of focus this offseason will be continuing to bolster the Lions' 27th ranked pass defense. Upgrades in the secondary and along the defensive line are in order. How much of that will take place via free agency? The draft?

What do Holmes and Campbell view as the strengths of this draft, especially on the defensive side of the ball? We also can't forget about the offense, especially upfront along the offensive line, an area Holmes also said he wouldn't overlook this offseason.

Both will likely address the staff and coaching changes we've seen since the season's conclusion. These are usually informative sessions on a wide range of topics.

View photos of the offensive line prospects who were invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

2. Quarterback carousel

The Lions aren't in the market for a quarterback in this draft with starter Jared Goff likely to get an extension at some point and last year's third-round pick Hendon Hooker set to compete for the backup job behind Goff.

But with as many as six quarterbacks potentially set to be selected in the first round, that position will dictate a lot of how this draft plays out. It's a good thing for a defense-needy team like Detroit seeing some potential impact defenders move down in the draft because of the offensive players that could dominate the top of the draft.

This year's quarterback class could impact the NFC North. What will Chicago do at No. 1? Will they take USC quarterback Caleb Williams or stick with Justin Fields and trade the pick? Does Minnesota draft the quarterback of the future? There's a lot to pay attention to with this quarterback class even if the Lions aren't expected to be players in it.

3. Defensive line & cornerback help

Free agency taking place in March before April's NFL Draft in Detroit has a way of changing draft needs. As it stands right now, Detroit's biggest needs are additions upfront along the defensive line, both in the interior and along the edge, and adding cornerback talent and depth.

Expect Holmes, Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn to take a long, hard look at this year's defensive line and cornerback prospects.

It's a nice class in both areas with top talent and depth. Dane Brugler of The Athletic had four cornerbacks and four defensive linemen ranked in his Top 25 prospects and 11 cornerbacks and 18 defensive linemen listed in his Top 100.

4. Trusting the process

Holmes has been a bit spoiled the last two draft cycles with multiple first-round picks and a couple of Top 10 picks. Counting Penei Sewell's selection at No. 7 overall in Holmes' first draft in 2021, this is the first year he goes into the draft without a Top 10 pick.

"It's going to be the same exact process," Holmes said after the season. "It's going to be the same exact plan. We're going to be very strategic, very selective. We're going to look for the same type of players.

"Again, it doesn't need to be – I know I referenced when we've had multiple number ones and so now, we're picking later back – actually, that's exciting for me."

Holmes has been so good at finding immediate impact players in the draft, and though the Lions currently don't pick until No. 29 in the first round, Holmes has four selections in the Top 100.

View photos of the defensive back prospects who were invited to the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

5. NFC North news

I always like listening to what the general managers and head coaches from Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago have to say during their media sessions in Indy.

There could certainly be some interesting tidbits from those sessions this year with Chicago owning the No. 1 overall pick, Minnesota having a big question to answer at quarterback, and Green Bay seemingly set to take the next step with a good young core in place. It's always good to stay on top of what's happening in the division, so we'll be sure to keep everyone up to date.

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