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TWENTYMAN: Combine Day 2 observations

Michigan connection: Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin learned to play football at a young age. He said one of his big early football influences came from his uncle, Steve King, who played alongside Charles Woodson and Ty Law at Michigan in the mid-1990s. Nubin is a versatile safety who should come off the board Day 2 as a player with nine interceptions over the last two seasons.

LaPorta love: Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, a potential top 10 pick this year, said he and the Georgia tight ends would watch film of Lions Pro Bowl rookie tight end Sam LaPorta this season.

"We watched a bunch of film of him at Georgia. Study and see what he does good. It was awesome to watch a rookie tight end come in and ball out," Bowers said. "He does a lot of the little things well; route running-wise. He just gets open. That's what you've got to do."

Bowers has a chance to be an instant impact player like LaPorta.

Word of the day: For the group of safeties that talked Thursday morning the word of the day was versatility. The NFL game has changed over the years and teams value safeties that do a lot of different things and line up in different spots. Teams are on the lookout for players who can play safety and nickel corner and maybe some corner, if needed. Georgia's Javon Bullard, Nubin and Miami's Kamren Kinchens, three of the top safeties in this class, all talked Thursday about versatility being a big part of their game and how it's been a big topic of conversation with teams in the interview process. The Lions could add another safety in this draft at some point.

Injury update: Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean is an athletic freak with ball skills who most draft analysts believe is a lock in the first round. He fractured his fibula mid-November and had surgery. He's been rehabbing since, and said he started running full speed last week. He hopes to work out at some point before the draft in April.

Branch love: Oregon safety Evan Williams had a big shoutout for Lions rookie defensive back Brian Branch.

"Definitely as a rookie this year, I think Brian Branch was somebody that popped on film for me," Williams said. "I think guys like that that have a lot of variability and how you can plug and play them in the defense, those are guys that are going to be on the field most of the time. I think Brian Branch and Antoine Winfield are some of the best to do it."

High praise for the Lions rookie.

Man of many sports: Kansas State tight end Ben Sinnott played six different sports in high school – football, hockey, baseball, golf, tennis and track. He lettered in all six. Apparently, he was a pretty good hockey player. He said he holds his high school conference record for goals scored, but the football side of him made the penalty box a familiar destination. He said he's second all-time in the conference in penalty minutes.

Big man: Texas defensive tackle T'Vondre Sweat measured in at 6-foot-4.5 and 366 pounds. He is a massive human being who was part of a terrific tackle duo for the Longhorns alongside Byron Murphy II. Sweat is an interesting prospect because of his size and production – 45 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss. He was adamant Wednesday morning he was going to run the 40-yard dash in under 5.0. We'll see later today if that's the case or not. If he does, his stock could take off.

"A lot of y'all going to be like (facial expression of shock) when I run this 40," Sweat said. "I'm going to shock a lot of y'all."

View photos of Detroit Lions players at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Footwork is key: Football players cross train from different sports all the time. Washington edge rusher Bralen Trice said he watches a tennis star when he wants to see good footwork.

"I think Roger Federer's footwork is crazy," he said. "Just growing up watching him, Olympics, stuff like that, all the tournaments that he was in, just a crazy athlete. One of the best."

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