Sam LaPorta may have a long career in the NFL, but it’s safe to say he won’t forget his NFL Combine meeting with the Lions and Dan Campbell.
Despite having one of the worst offenses in college football year after year, the University of Iowa has become a tight end factory for the NFL (George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, etc.). Next in line is Sam LaPorta, who looks likely to be a Day 2 pick in April.
NFL teams have previously drawn ire for the ridiculous questions they ask incoming prospects at the Combine. It’s safe to assume the Detroit Lions don’t do any of those shenanigans, at least not anymore (let’s just assume Matt Patricia did stupid things in those prospect interviews), not with the ever-forthright Dan Campbell as head coach.
LaPorta had a very nice day of on-field work in Indianapolis on Saturday, highlighted by the third-fastest 40 time for a tight end this year (4.59). But during his session with the media before that, he detailed his memorable meeting with the Lions.
Sam LaPorta had a Combine meeting he won’t forget with the Detroit Lions
Via Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire, who was on-site in Indianapolis all week, here’s what LaPorta said about his Combine interview with the Lions.
"The Lions were my first formal interview. So that was interesting,” LaPorta related at his interview podium. “I walked in there and immediately hit the tape. 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. Yeah, but very direct.”"
What about meeting head coach Campbell?
"(Campbell) had a big chaw in as soon as I walked in, and that was a firm handshake for sure,” LaPorta said with a smile."
It’s no surprise the Lions have a straight-forward approach to evaluate a draft prospect during interviews in Indianapolis. No frills, no outlandish questions that toe the line of relevence or decency, no bull. Just looking at tape, then circling back to see how well a player retains information–football conversation, mostly if not entirely during the alloted time.
LaPorta may have a long and productive career in the NFL, starting in Detroit or elsewhere. But it’s clear the Lions made an impression on him at the Combine, unique compared to other teams apparently, and it’s a meeting he probably won’t soon forget.