Lions doing their homework on top receiving prospects

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Both general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Caldwell attended Sammy Watkins' pro day earlier this month and will both attend Mike Evans' Thursday

ORLANDO -- The Detroit Lions got their No. 1 free-agent target this spring when receiver Golden Tate agreed to a five-year, $31 million contract.

Tate’s addition gives the Lions a legitimate receiving threat opposite All Pro Calvin Johnson, but don’t think they're done adding to that position.

Martin Mayhew and Jim Caldwell continue to do their homework on some of the best receiving prospects available in May’s NFL Draft.

The Lions general manager and head coach are heading right from the NFL Annual Meetings in Florida to College Station, Texas, where they’ll get an up-close look at receiver Mike Evans at his Pro Day on Thursday.

Sammy WatkinsWR Sammy Watkins (Photo: AP Images)

The two already attended Clemson’s Pro Day earlier this month and got to know receiver Sammy Watkins a lot better.

In fact, Mayhew and Caldwell sat down for a meal with Watkins and his parents in South Carolina.

“You get a chance to see them in a little different light,” Caldwell said of being able to sit down with Watkins for an extended period of time. “That particular incident we had an opportunity to visit with his mother and father. One of the things that I learned back in college is I’ve always loved to watch the interaction between an individual and his parents. You know that old scripture in the Bible, ‘Honor thy mother and father.’

“Typically, you can tell what kind of young man he is. You watch the people they are closest to and hold dearest to their heart, and how they treat them, whether it’s respect and honor, it gives you a pretty good indication what’s going to happen in your program. I think some of those things hold true, even at this level.”

Caldwell said he was very impressed with Watkins, who’s widely considered the top receiver prospect in the draft.

“I don’t know what the rules are about what we can discuss about these guys, but let me just tell you something, there’s not much to dislike about this young man,” Caldwell said. “He’s a quality person, he has talent and he loves to play the game.”

Caldwell said he didn’t know if there was a similar plan to sit down and spend extended time with Evans on Thursday.

Mayhew told beat reporters that it feels good to have Tate in the fold, but if the opportunity presents itself to add another “playmaking” option at receiver, he’d certainly look into it.

“(Watkins) is an outstanding player,” Mayhew said. “He’s got speed, he’s got quickness and he’s got playmaking ability. Another guy you can get the ball to and he can make something happen. And the big games that he played in he had some of his best performances. We enjoyed spending time with him.”

The recent addition of James Ihedigbo filled a big need on defense, but expect the team to add plenty of talent and depth on that side of the ball in May.

The Lions will also add another receiver, it’s just a matter of when. If it’s Watkins or Evans it’ll have to be early in the draft.

It appears the Lions are crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s trying to determine if that’s the best course of action.