Dinner, apparently, is part of Jim Caldwell’s grand scouting and drafting plan. This has little to do with any actual food consumed, though. It has everything to do with more time with prospects.
The first-year Detroit Lions coach had dinner with prospect Sammy Watkins, part of the process to see exactly what the Clemson wide receiver --and likely first receiver taken in May’s NFL draft -- is all about.
"You get a chance to see them in a different light even though you have an opportunity to interview them," iCaldwell said at the owner's meetings in Orlando, Fla. "In this situation, you get them for an extended period of time on his turf. He’s a lot more comfortable.
"That incident, we had an opportunity to visit with his mother and father. You get a good feel. One of the things I’ve learned from my days at college is that I love to watch the interaction between the individual and his parents. You can tell what type of young man it is, particularly in college you always get those young guys and most people think they can change them, but you watch the people they are closest to and hold dearest to their heart and how they treat them gives you a pretty good indication of what’s going to happen in your program when you get them."
That, Caldwell said, translates from college to the pros as well as it does from high school to college.
Caldwell was able to do this more often when he was a college assistant and then as the head coach at Wake Forest from 1993 to 2000, but now that he’s a head coach again in the NFL, he can use a similar approach.
I really like that our new coach is taking the time to know guys that he hopes to bring to Detroit. Too often,and I think way too often for the Lions, players are treated like chess pieces, just moved around from team to team and week to week. There is way too much roster adjusting going on at the bottom of our roster during the season. Players need continuity, and I really think that Coach Caldwell is the right guy for us.
I wonder how many times Jim Schwartz has had a dinner with a prospective player and his family as part of the recruitment process. Maybe more than I think, but I bet Caldwell is already passed him up.
Plus, I really like Sammy Watkins and it seems so do the Lions.