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Lions offseason questions: Second-year player to watch

Dan Campbell has never been afraid to play young players, which we've seen a lot of throughout his three years as head coach of the Detroit Lions.

The Lions got a lot of production from their rookie class last year, with running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta combining for 25 touchdowns and defensive back Brian Branch starting the season with a pick-six against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the NFL opener.

The future looks bright for the Lions, as these young players should only get better heading into their second seasons.

Which Lions rookie are you most excited to see make a Year-2 jump? I asked the crew, and here's what they had to say:

View photos of the top offensive line prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Tim Twentyman: Defensive tackle Brodric Martin

When the Lions drafted Martin out of Western Kentucky in the third round last year they knew he was a developmental player. Martin said all the right things after the season in terms of transforming his diet and body to get in a position where he can contribute more in Year 2.

Players take their biggest leap in development in Year 2 and the Lions are hoping that's the case with Martin, especially with veteran DJ Reader taking him under his wing. If Martin takes a big leap the Lions could have a nice rotation in the middle of the defensive line in 2024.

Mike O'Hara: Running back Jahmyr Gibbs

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs' stats in his rookie season spoke for themselves – 945 yards rushing, 10 TDs, 5.2 yards per carry and 316 yards receiving with a TD. Chances are, he'll end up in the end zone even more often in 2024.

Dannie Rogers: Defensive back Brian Branch

The jump from Year 1 to Year 2 is so critical in the NFL. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta consistently set their own respective bars as rookies. The player from that rookie class that I'm excited to see perform at a consistent, impactful rate in Year 2 is cornerback Brian Branch.

He finished last year with 74 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 13 passes defended and three interceptions overall which was outstanding for a rookie. This year with more reps at safety, he'll be a Swiss Army knife across the defense. Detroit's secondary is still searching for its outright leader and that's the role I have high hopes of Branch filling very soon.

View photos of the top edge rusher prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

PJ's pick: Quarterback Hendon Hooker

While he may not impact the regular season, this will be the first real chance the team gets to see Hendon Hooker at full strength. With a full offseason to prepare without rehabbing, I'm looking forward to seeing Hooker spin it throughout the offseason program and training camp. He should have plenty of reps in preseason games to remind the league how special he was during his time at Tennessee.

Editor's pick: Defensive back Brian Branch

Branch was arguably the most consistent member of Detroit's secondary as a rookie. Now with a year under his belt and more support around him, he can fully unleash his playmaking ability.