The Detroit Lions have always been known for being cautious when drafting players with perceived character issues. Even if it meant passing on game changers like Randy Moss. That caution seemed to wane a bit during the Jim Schwartz era. An era highlighted by draft choices Titus Young, Mikel LeShoure and Nick Fairley all of which had problems either on or off the field. (sometime both)
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But the risk taking seemed to stop when Jim Caldwell came to town. Caldwell and company seemed more focused on character with the idea that filling your team with talented men of high character will not only produce results but keep the team out of the headlines. General Manager Martin Mayhew confirmed that line of thinking in comments to Tim Twentyman of detroitlions.com.
"“I think in this day and age with the camera phones and the media access and Twitter and those things that we have, I think it’s much more of an issue than it was 10, 12 years ago,” Mayhew said.“I can tell you for a fact that people did things in the NFL, players did things that never saw the light of day. Now, every time somebody does something it’s all over the Internet and social media. So, I think that’s an important factor that’s changed the nature of this game and college football as well.”"
Mayhew went on to talk about the wieght his coaching staff carries when making a draft choice.
"“They have to work with those guys every single day, so I want them to have guys that they want to have. I tell those guys before the Draft, ‘Hey, I’m not going to draft a guy you don’t want to coach.’ So, if we get on the board, we have names on the board and I ask, ‘Do you want to coach this guy?’ And coaches have said no, and we draft somebody else.”"
You have probably heard the old cliché “nice guys finish last”. That seems to apply to Detroit Lions teams of the past as the team passed on risky, productive players for fear of having negative press. That said, Jim Caldwell’s strategy seems to go a little deeper. He is not only looking for high character but also focused on cerebral players with dedicated work ethic. This years draft class optimizes that with Laken Tomlinson, Alex Carter and Ameer Abdullah, all of who are considered high IQ players with a non-stop motor.
It is said that every team ends up adopting the persona of their head coach. We will fins out shortly id Jim Caldwell’s persona has championship DNA.