General manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Caldwell have been busy the last month scouting some of the big pro days across the country.
The pair most recently spent the day at College Station, Texas, for the pro day of Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans.
There’s a great deal of evaluation that goes on around this time from the scouting, personnel and coaching staffs. This offseason is a little different because NFL teams will have the benefit of having two extra weeks to put it all together before they have to make key decisions on draft day.
The NFL draft has been pushed back 13 days this year. Last year it took place April 25-27. This year, the commissioner doesn’t hit the podium until May 8-10.
Mayhew said the extra time afforded teams hasn’t affected the number of pro days he’s attending from years past, but it will give the Lions a chance to dig deeper into interesting prospects and take a closer look at some of the small-school players.
“I think it will give us more time to evaluate guys,” Mayhew said. “I think it will give us some more cross checks.
“Sometimes we’ll have guys that we end up getting one grade on them -- smaller school guys. We’ll have an opportunity to go back and look at some of those guys a little bit more in depth. So I think there will be some value in terms of the scouts because they’ll have more time.”
It’ll also give Mayhew and Co. extra time to evaluate their draft board and decide the best course of action once all the grades are in. Will that be selecting the best player available at No. 10? Could it involve trying to move up? Maybe they decide moving back is best?
The extra time will help Mayhew weigh all his options and get the most complete set of grades the team has probably ever had on prospects.
Those grades will determine whom the Lions value as “elite” and what the top of their board looks like.
Mayhew was asked at the NFL Annual Meetings in Orlando about this year’s draft depth and the possibility of moving up.
“I think the depth of the draft is obviously a factor in terms of thinking of trading up,” Mayhew said. “What are you missing out on?
“But sometimes if guys are elite players and difference makers, and if you’re picking 10, and there are five elite players, if you can get one of those guys, you can get some value and make room for that.
“In my view there are not 10 elite guys.”
So Mayhew and the Lions have 13 extra days to decide if they try and get the cream of the crop in this draft or select a couple more very good players.