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Coaching the Senior Bowl paid off in a big way for Lions in this year’s draft

Posted by ttwentyman on April 27, 2013 – 10:25 pm

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.”


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “Coaching the Senior Bowl paid off in a big way for Lions in this year’s draft”

  1. By Don on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    I am Very Happy that we took DE Ziggy Ansah, G Larry Warford, And TE Michael Williams.
    I Really am happy about all of the players that we picked up in this Draft.
    The WR Really Makes me happy and I am hoping that he has great Hands and I am hoping the same thing about the CB. As you can tell it now becomes time to remember Names however I don’t believe that,that will take long with this group of guy’s. They all seem to be in great shape and love the game of football and I love that. And the other thing that I noticed is that they all seem to be high character men that anyone would be proud to have on their team.
    I have to say to everyone from the President of operations to Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz, And the coaching Staff to the Scouts and well everyone not just for this year but for the whole time you have been building this Team. Thank you!
    You all are doing a great job and I believe that we have a great TEAM!
    GO LIONS! 16-0 – playoffs and Superbowl ! And every one, one game at a time!
    I love this TEAM!

  2. By tommy on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah the Lions did good this year solid DL now, OL looks good, just wish the secondary could of got some more attention but the Lions are rebuilding a franchise it takes time to build a championship football team can’t do it overnight, playoff run this year well we’ll see , there on the right track though so that’s good…. Gooo Lions!!!!

  3. By Sagmich on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    The only two I like are Warford and Riddick. Riddick they were saying can be a kickoff and punt return man and he can also play RB and WR. Warford might be able to be a starter. The rest are developemental players and who the hell is Fuller wide receiver from Va. Tech.? There were way better wide receivers still out there the Lions could have picked. This draft blows big time. Slay the CB has had injuries figures. They may be higher character men which is good but we needed players who could fill the holes immediately. The Lions did not do that, again!

  4. By Ryan on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    If you can start as a blocking TE at Alabama for four years, you can be a blocking TE for the Detroit Lions. He can run people over in the running game and will help the tackles keep Stafford clean.

  5. By Jim on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Tim , What do you think about the Lions maybe bringing in Da’Rick Rodgers as a URFA ?

  6. By mitch on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    As with every draft, it’s almost always a crap shoot…this year is no different. Sure, there are years with some players who’s upside is almost too good for them to fail, but this year, that was not the case. If it’s one thing we’ve learned as Lions fans, it’s that being drafted in the first round does not automatically make a superstar…and being drafted in the later rounds does not mean you aren’t good and won’t contribute. We have drafted a lot of “Big” name guys in the past that didn’t add up to jack squat…let’s see where this goes. At the end of the season, Mayhew and Co. will either be hailed as geniuses, or run out of town on a rail….We got a DE that Is already a beast, and a quick study…what he brings to the table immediately are things you can’t teach. We scored the fastest CB in the draft, and we got a G that is already an improvement over Peterman….I can’t figure out what everyone is so upset about? I’m glad we didn’t take Milliner with his 5 surgeries, btw!

  7. By Sagmich on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    Slay had injuries to his knee. Claims it will not be an issue. We will soon see.

  8. By broccolilava on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    There were no “project” players in the first three rounds. Ansah was a great pick and will be a starter on day one. He is a dominant defender and great against the run.
    Slay is a super fast corner and was only available in the 2nd because of a knee that has been cleared.
    Warford is a tank. He will also start on day one. Taylor will be great depth as he develops.
    Martin has a cannon for a leg. He is a huge upgrade from last year.

    All the players seem really solid to me. I think it was a great haul.

  9. By broccolilava on Apr 28, 2013 | Reply

    This was a great haul. All three first picks will start immediately and contribute. Martin is a huge upgrade from last year. The rest of the guys all seem very solid with good character and work ethic. This team is going to look a lot more athletic than previous years. I am really excited about all of these pickups.

  10. By Don on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    With Slays injury there are mixed Feelings about it from a lot of different people.
    One Girl said that her Meniscus injury hurt her almost constantly.
    But then another guy said that he had the same injury and played with it like that all through high school or College? And that it never gave him any trouble at all.
    So it sounds to me like it is one of those things where it must depend on how bad the injury was.when it happened. It must not hurt him that bad he was carrying his son all day and night of the draft and he didn’t look like he was worried about it giving out on him or anything like that.
    I really do not get these Fans? I know that the Ziggy pick was going to get that kind of reaction because at the Very beginning of the draft there are a ton of people that are really good players, that is the way that it always is in the start of the draft. But, I believe that Ziggy is a first RD Talent and with the way he picks things up he will be a great player for us and one that we can Mold to play the way we want him to play.
    I have to say that Ziggy wasn’t my first pick either, However, He is a great Pick I believe. I really believe that this was a great draft for us.
    I love the OG Larry Warford, I wanted to pick the Alabama Guard Chance Warmack. But, after reading up on larry hey, larry is a beast and he is a great pass protector, did not allow even one sack on his QB last year. I love that!
    And the Man can Open holes. He had a ton of plays that allowed good runs right thru the middle where he opened up the field to the RB. So what More does anyone want out of your Guard? And I watched Tape on the CB the dude looks great with a ton of upside, with the fact that he has Three other Really good DBs to show him the ropes in the NFL. another DE that Looks like he is going to be slapping balls right out of the sky! Don’t even think that that wouldn’t rattle the other QBs in our division. The WR is a little raw also However there again he is Really fast and he Can catch there again what more do these people want.
    When Alabama’s coach tell you that they are going to Miss their TE the Most Tells you something. It tells you that this guy can Open tons of holes for our RBs And that sounds sooo Great with the RBs that we have this year.
    I know that everyone didn’t get the exact players that they were hoping for but, C.mon man we got some player’s here. Good players that are going to help this TEAM. And one last thing and I’ll shut up! LOL! I have never heard people complaining so much about the fact that some of our players picked in the past few draft’s were like some highon losers or something. Bull, the are young men just coming out of College which I have never gone to a Large college but what I have heard is that they are party havens. And these men WILL grow up Sooner or later. Hopefully sooner? But there are not many of us in this Nation That hasn’t had his Time and trial at the Party scene. And anyways, the guy’s that Our Great Lions GM and Coach’s picked this year look to be some high character men. I do Really hope that ALL of are players would be very careful at how they live their lives from here on out because New Rookies and Vet’s I do not know why but you have to be careful or don’t do Anything that you would not want to read in the Daily Paper. Ok I am done Ranting, just that we had a Great Draft. And our TEAM is a better Team than we were last year. I really believe that this will be one of the best classes we have had in a long time. Not that we haven’t already got some fantastic players in past drafts it’s just that we got some more.
    SO, I am hoping that we make the playoffs and beyond, If we don’t we will soon.
    This Team will come together,.I just hope that Mayhew and Schwartz have the Time to finish the job! They are allmost finished putting it together but I know that it has time to grow and grow BIG TIME. OPP,S SEE I JUST CAN”T SHUT UP ABOUT THIS TEAM! I LOVE THIS TEAM! GOOOOOOO LIONS !

  11. By Sagmich on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I love my Lions too. I have been watching this team since 1959. As for the knee injury whether it hurts all the time or it is not hurting all the time the injury weakens the knee take my word for it I had that injury got it playing basketball. My knee though it did not hurt everyday of my life my knee was weaker which means at any time I could have more damage to the knee something like what happened to RG3. One day you are fine the next you are on the grass in pain. I would have prefered they took a player who did not hurt their knee. I am all for Warford he is a beast. Taylors work ethic has been in question so he has to work on that. Williams an old fashioned type of tight end. Williams is something we need to open holes for Reggie. I like Riddick he is a versatile player. I watched some tape on Fuller and I am not as down about him as I was. Hepburn put in the right situation can help. The punter Martin all the commentators did was laugh and talk about how he drops the ball more times than not. So we will see soon if they are right. Ziggy I am not thrilled with would have prefered Warmack. Time will tell if Ziggy is a quick study and contributes right away. I will be the first to eat crow.

  12. By Raymond on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Good draft the season will be interesting I believe this team could surprise fans.We need to bust minn. ass right out of the gate . If this game goes in the win side for us watch out.

  13. By lionsgonewild on May 5, 2013 | Reply

    Maybe they should coach them every year.

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