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Iowa TE Sam LaPorta offers revealing insight into Lions’ NFL Combine interview process

Iowa TE Sam LaPorta had a formal meeting with the Detroit Lions at the 2023 NFL Combine and spilled the beans on how the team conducts interviews.

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Last year, the Detroit Lions provided us with a little behind-the-scenes look at how they operated at the NFL Combine with their “Inside the Den” video series. Of course, when the team produces something like that, they are only going to show you want they want to be seen. Many of their tactics, strategies, and scouting processes remain a mystery.

But Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta offered us a little more insight into the Lions’ interview process this week at the Combine. LaPorta said the Lions were his first formal interview of the week, and he described an interesting tactic the Lions used to test out his football knowledge and ability to retain information.

“I walked in there and immediately hit the tape,” LaPorta recalled. “I started learning a new play call. And after I learned a new play call for about five minutes, they jumped into some of my tape, and then at the very end of the meeting, we came back to the play call and I had to remember all the splits of the receivers, tight ends, what routes were they running. Very small details as the routes and it was interesting.”

Many teams have different strategies to interview draft prospects. Some ask weird, uncommon questions to throw off the player and see how they handle adversity. Some just want to talk Xs and Os. As coach Dan Campbell said last week, he’s looking for guys who can—and love to—talk ball.

“You watch the guys that you present them this mini-install before they get to the tape and taking notes, asking questions, and then, man, when you go, they throw the sheet down cause to them it’s a competition,” Campbell said. “‘I’m about to show you how good I can do this. I’m about to show you what I can retain. I’m gonna show you that I understand what you’re wanting me to do.’ And those guys are rare. If you can find those guys and they’ve got some ability, which most guys here do, it’s hard not to like them.”

Was LaPorta one of those guys who couldn’t hold in his excitement to talk football? I guess we’ll find out on draft day.

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