At this point in the offseason last year, the Detroit Lions were still in the process of overthrowing their previous front office regime. They were still hiring new scouts and new coaches, conditioning coordinators were being added to the staff and Bob Quinn was still settling into the position he had assumed less than three weeks prior. The Lions were in the midst of all of this staff jumbling right in the middle of Senior Bowl week.
Now the Lions are in a much more stable situation. Their crucial draft preparation staff has remained intact for an entire year now and the Lions have essentially the exact same coaches as they did in 2016—they only lost director of football research Randy Edsall to the University of Connecticut.
Lions director of player personnel Kyle O’Brien noted the drastic change this year in this excellent interview with DetroitLions.com’s Tori Petry. “It was a bit of a scramble for the Senior Bowl last year,” O’Brien admits. “This time last year we were trying to teach Bob [Quinn] and Coach’s [Caldwell] philosophy as to how they want to approach building this team, their philosophy in terms of the kind of guys they want in the locker room and on the field.”
Despite the struggle, the Lions came out of the 2016 NFL Draft with some key contributors. In fact, in the midst of all this internal chaos, the Lions ended up adding five players—Graham Glasgow, Miles Killebrew, Joe Dahl, Jimmy Landes and Jay Lee—who participated in the Senior Bowl last year.
But O’Brien believes the Lions are much more prepared this year. “Now everyone is speaking the same language, viewing through the same scope. We’re excited,” he said. Petry then asked O’Brien if things were “a little bit smoother this year than last,” to which O’Brien corrected, “significantly smoother.”
If the draft machine is working at a more streamlined pace, as O’Brien seems to be suggesting, that could be great news for Lions fans. Already, Quinn has been praised for a draft class that produced essentially three starters (Taylor Decker, A’Shawn Robinson, and Glasgow) in their first season. If that was the result of this draft team’s efforts at their most chaotic, we could see some even better results with everyone now on the same page.