The NFL Scouting Combine kicks off later this week in Indianapolis and it'll give teams like the Detroit Lions a chance to get real measurables and medical reports on the more than 300 prospects expected to take part.
It's an opportunity for teams to get a lot of information for their draft boards and start to put names with needs.
We've already taken a look at the wide receiver, cornerback and safety positions, and in the days leading up to the Combine we'll continue to take a look at some of the Lions' biggest needs this offseason, what prospects could fill those spots and what questions need to be answered in Indianapolis next week.
Why do the Lions need another linebacker?
Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said a team could never have too many cornerbacks. He's right, but that statement could also include to the linebacker position.
Austin wants to utilize multiple looks in his defense and is expected to employ the blitz more than the previous regime did. He also said he wants to be versatile and balanced. The more players he has who can do multiple things the better off he'll be in acomplishing that.
There is an art form to blitzing. It's not as simple as just sending a linebacker, corner or safety and expecting him to get home. Some players have a knack for it. Some don't.
Tulloch and veteran
Getting another three-down linebacker will allow them to be a bit more versatile.
Where does the roster stand?
Tulloch and Levy are signed through 2016 and 2015, respectively.
This upcoming season will be a critical one for Whitehead and Lewis. The former 2012 draft picks are entering year three of their NFL career and that's when most players take a step forward in their development and production.
Lewis was suspended the final four games of the season for using Adderall.
Can either of those players make a push for a starting job?
Who could fit in the draft?
The Lions will always look to improve their depth both inside and outside and could even be on the lookout for a starter.
Buffalo's Khalil Mack (6-2, 245) and UCLA's Anthony Barr (6-4, 244) are super athletic, but will have to prove they can play off the line of scrimmage if the Lions are going to be interested. Both might fit better as rush 3-4 outside linebackers.
Other players who could fit later on after No. 10 are: Ohio State's Ryan Shazier (6-2, 226), Wisconsin's Chris Borland (5-11, 245), Stanford's Shayne Skov (6-2, 239), Florida State's Christian Jones (6-3, 234), BYU's Kyle Van Noy (6-3, 244), Connecticut's Yawin Smallwood (6-2, 235) and Michigan State's Max Bullough (6-2, 265).
What do the Lions want to learn from the position in Indianapolis?
- The agility and position drills go a long way to slotting linebackers as inside or outside capable in a 4-3.
- Linebackers are used in a lot of different ways in college. Whitehead was an on-the-line-of-scrimmage linebacker at Temple. There are some projections that have to take place with some of these players. How will this guy fit in the Lions scheme based on film and Combine numbers?
- Is Mosley enough of an impact player to be considered at No. 10?
- The Lions have developmental players at the position. Are there starting-caliber players in the midlevel rounds of this year's draft?