INDIANAPOLIS – Lions love: Michigan kicker Jake Moody grew up in Northville and has been a lifelong fan of the Detroit Lions. Moody told a story Thursday at the Combine about how when he was in high school some friends texted him that Matt Prater and Calvin Johnson were eating at a local pizzeria close to his house. Moody jumped in his car and raced over to the pizza place. When he got there he went straight to Prater. He talked to Prater for so long that Johnson actually interrupted and introduced himself. Moody is arguably the best kicker in this draft. He has a big leg, and said the longest field goal he's ever made in practice was a wind-aided 72-yarder. He said he'd love to be drafted by the Lions
Figure skating: Illinois safety Sydney Brown was really encouraged by the rookie season former teammate and current Lions safety Kerby Joseph had. Brown, one of the top safeties in this year's class, grew up in Canada. Like most Canadiens, Brown had a pair of ice skates on his feet at an early age. Brown's mother was a terrific figure skater and pushed Brown and his brother into figure skating as kids. Brown didn't stick with it long, however, before turning to football. He had six interceptions for the Illini this past season.
Takeaway King: That's the nickname Penn State safety Ji'ayir Brown has garnered after recording 10 interceptions, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles the last two seasons. Brown also recorded 7.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks this past season,. He's a safety that can do a lot of different things for a defense.
New coaches: Lions assistant coaches Duce Staley (assistant head coach/running backs), Todd Wash (defensive line) and John Morton (offensive assistant) left Dan Campbell's staff this offseason.
"We're going to miss Duce Staley. We're gonna miss Todd Wash. We're going to miss John Morton. But all three of those guys, really, it was for family," Campbell said. "I know that's the right thing to do."
Scottie Montgomery has replaced Staley. Campbell confirmed that John Scott Jr. will replace Wash. Steve Heiden will coach the tight ends as Tanner Engstrand is the team's passing game coordinator full time now. Former Bears, Panthers and Broncos head coach John Fox is also set to join Campbell's staff as a defensive assistant.
"He misses the chess match," Campbell said of Fox. "He misses preparing for an opponent. And just worrying about defense. I think he's going to be great in helping AG (Lions DC Aaron Glenn) watch his blind spots."
Big man running fast: Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey recorded 27.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks the last two seasons. The one knock on him is he's a little undersized at 6-foot-1, 281 pounds. Well, people weren't talking about Kancey's size much on Thursday after his 4.67-second 40 time was the fastest by a defensive tackle since 2003. Kancey is a likely first-round pick and is drawing some early comparisons to Aaron Donald when he was coming out of Pittsburgh. Donald ran a 4.68.
Athleticism and speed: Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn told a small group of Lions reporters Thursday that the NFL trend of quarterbacks who can make plays with their legs is forcing teams and defensive coordinators specifically to look for more athletic players on defense who can run. One of those guys who is going to test well this week is Georgia linebacker/edge rusher Nolan Smith, who started off his testing Thursday with a 41.5-inch vertical leap at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds.