The Detroit Lions consider it a significant benefit to have spent time with many of the top senior prospects in this year’s draft class by way of the 2010 Senior Bowl.
Those prospects having moved on to the NFL Scouting Combine, are speaking about the fact that they, too, benefitted from the interactions with the Lions’ staff.
Cincinnati WR Mardy Gilyard was one of the North Team’s top performers in the Senior Bowl and one of the sought-after prospects at the combine.
Gilyard: “The Lions staff is just one of a kind. Those were the coaches that I felt like I really needed as a player. Shawn Jefferson, the coach, was really, really, really, really strict amongst (all the) guys, but it seemed like he was real strict on me. He did a lot of yelling, getting in my face a lot. I can remember day one, he’s like, ‘Man, we want to send you home, man.’
“I needed stuff like that because, as a player, when you’re good and you feel like you’re good – not that you take anything for granted – but sometimes you get lackadaisical and you need that kick in your butt to get you moving. They gave me that.
“The coaches really gave me what I needed – my position coach – and they worked my butt off there. It was just an experience I’ll never forget.”
Gilyard is a player who went through adversity in his collegiate career, losing his scholarship after his sophomore season due to academics.
He lived in his car and worked four jobs before going back to Cincinnati.
Gilyard: “Me and Coach Jefferson spoke a lot about life (and) this whole process of me leaving the Senior Bowl coming in to when I would actually be drafted. He was also telling me, ‘Mardy, you need to make sure that you just stay out of the way. You don’t need to get in any trouble. If you hang with a crew, tell your crew you’ll hang with them when you get time to. This is the time that you need to be indoors.’
“He’s like, ‘You got a dog? You got a girl?’ I was like, ‘Well, I got a dog; I ain’t got no girl.’ He was like, ‘Well, you need to spend all your time with your dog, inside the house.’”
Gilyard says he has been spending time with his dog, Kane’O, to follow Jefferson’s advice.
Wayne State RB Joique Bell was also on the North Team roster with the Lions’ staff. Bell says he benefitted from the week of practice more than he did the actual game.
Bell: “The practices (are) where you make your name. They say a lot of the scouts don’t really stay for the game – they leave before the game. For me, my effort that I gave out there on the field, I think is what really stood out to the scouts, so of course I think that practice helped me out more than the game.”
Like Gilyard, Bell also received words of wisdom from his position coach and former NFL player, Sam Gash.
Bell: “He’s a good guy. He stayed on us – he stayed on us a lot. He wanted the best out of us. He demanded it and didn’t expect anything less. It wasn’t anything that I expected less of myself. He was a good guy.”
While Gilyard was coming off adversity he experienced during his collegiate career, Bell used the Senior Bowl to put his talent level up against the top Division-I players.
Bell: “It was great being able to get out there with the D-I prospects and being able to showcase my talent.
“Not only that, but meeting new people, making new friends – made a lot of friends with Mardy Gilyard, Jacoby Ford, Sean Witherspoon, Chris Cook, LeGarrette Blount – just to be able to go out there and just to be able to meet the top-tier guys and be able to compete with them was great. It was fun and it was a memorable experience.”
Tags: Sam Gash, Shawn Jefferson
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