The Detroit Lions’ involvement at the Senior Bowl has clear benefits from working with players, but there are deeper benefits to be had.
The Detroit Lions coaching staff is at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama for the second time in three years this week, albeit with two different regimes. Being there is beneficial for any NFL staff, to get some down and dirty hands-on work with prospects in April’s draft.
After having a very successful first draft as the Lions’ GM, Brad Holmes will ideally use this opportunity to build on that foundation. While free agency will be different this year, the Lions still aren’t likely to be big spenders. So the real heavy lifting of the rebuild will continue to be via the draft.
Getting hands-on work with the players in Mobile will give Holmes, head coach Dan Campbell and the rest of coaching staff extra insight that should help the draft process. The benefits of the Lions coaching stafff being at the Senior Bowl won’t stop there.
Benefits of being at Senior Bowl go deeper for the Detroit Lions
A new thing at the Senior Bowl this year is the head coach of each team stepping into an advisory role, with assistant coaches being elevated to bigger roles.
For the Lions, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley has taken over as head coach of the American team. Tight ends coach Ben Johnson is the offensive coordinator, and defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Aubrey Pleasant is serving as defensive coordinator.
If only for a week, Staley, Johnson, and Pleasant get to prove their mettle in bigger roles. It’s a rare development opportunity, and all three are in line to climb the coaching ladder. Johnson is a candidate to be the Lions’ new offensive coordinator, so he’s getting an audition this week after becoming passing game coordinator late this past season.
Staley, Johnson and Pleasant may all eventually leave the Lions’ coaching staff. But that’s proof of doing things right, and the caliber of coaches Campbell has brought in.
The Lions are getting a good opportunity to learn about players this week in Mobile. But the coaching staff is also getting a showcase opportunity, which can at least benefit the Lions in the short-term.