Do the Detroit Lions have any diamonds in the rough?

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Ronald Cortes//Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Cortes//Getty Images) /

Developing players is one way for the Detroit Lions to improve. Which draft picks or rookie free agents might be diamonds in the rough?

The Detroit Lions, like the rest of the NFL, are now in the midst of their summer vacation. On July 25th they will gather for training camp to blend their new talent with the old and focus on what is expected to be a bounce-back season. While some of that talent they have added this is a little young and raw, it still has possibilities.

This past week the Detroit Red Wings had their developmental camp. It gave them an opportunity to look at their draft picks as well as some other young talent they had interest in. Some of those players will be back for the Red Wings training camp this fall and a few may even make the team.

For many who are close, but just aren’t quite ready for the NHL, they will go to the Wings minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The development of young players in the NFL is vastly different from other sports. Unlike the NHL, NBA, and MLB, there is no minor league or farm system to develop young players.

Earlier this year it looked like the Alliance of American Football may have been on the way to becoming that farm system the NFL is missing. It was comprised of talented young players, many of which had some NFL experience, and gave them an opportunity to get what most talented young players are missing when they are released; experience.

There were reports that after the AAF’s season ended there would be discussions about the possibility of it becoming the foundation or starting grounds for an NFL farm system. Instead, Dallas billionaire Tom Dundon who bought into the AAF and became the majority owner of the league decided to pull out his investment and allow the league to shut down.

Whether that was the right move or not is immaterial now, but the development of a farm system for the NFL would go a long way towards allowing many talented young players to become NFL ready and would create an even larger talent pool to work from.