Of the eight players the Lions drafted this year, three picks – DE Ziggy Ansah, G Larry Warford and TE Michael Williams – were coached by the Lions at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama in January.
Being able to spend a week with those players, seeing how they practiced, prepared in the meeting room and what type of men they were off the field, turned out to be invaluable for Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and Co.
“I really can’t explain it,” Mayhew said. “I can just tell you, the last time that we went down there (the Lions coached the North team at the Senior Bowl in 2009), we came back and went through this entire process. At the end of it, there just weren’t a whole lot of guys that were on our team that really appealed to us.
“This time, we went through the same exact process, had a different roster of guys and it was littered with guys that really appealed to us. So, I can’t really explain it. But we felt so much better about this class of guys than we did the last class.”
The fact that the Lions coached the South team this time around could have had something to do with it, Mayhew admitted.
“There may be something to that,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know, that South team is usually pretty stacked.
“There were guys that we looked at and we were like, ‘Oh, we’d draft him and we’ll draft him and him,’ that’s how it went. There were just a bunch of guys we really liked.”
Thursday night, after selecting Ansah with the No. 5 overall pick, Mayhew said he might not of made the pick if the Lions hadn’t spent that week with him.
“I think if we didn’t have the opportunity to coach him at the Senior Bowl, that would have been a bigger issue,” Mayhew said of Ansah only having played football since 2010.
“But we had the opportunity to work with him and teach him and we saw the way that he could learn, how quickly he picks things up and we saw the impact that he had in the game so we felt very comfortable with him.”
Tags: Larry Warford, Martin Mayhew, Michael Williams, Ziggy Ansah
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »