The Lions are spending more on scouting the draft than they ever have under Rod Wood.
You may have noticed the Detroit Lions attending nearly every college Pro Day this offseason to prepare for the NFL Draft. You wouldn’t be the only one. Former vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, and current NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt has been impressed by the team’s omnipresence:
Lions have been EVERYWHERE on the pro day circuit. Bob Quinn learned a thing/2 from Belichick.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 16, 2017
When combining meetings at the NFL Combine, Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine game and Pro Days, the Lions have already met personally with well over 70 prospects.
That incredibly high number is no coincidence. Team president Rod Wood said that he has specifically allocated a lot more of the team’s funds to draft preparation.
Wood also said team has increased the budget to send personnel to Pro Days and scout players in pre-draft process. It's an investment.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) March 29, 2017
At this point last season, general manager Bob Quinn was still in the midst of getting his new staff up to speed. In fact, Quinn didn’t even have his entire preferred staff until after his first draft ended. He fired two scouts he inherited a few days after the draft was complete.
But now that Quinn has had a full season to hire his people and streamline the draft preparation process, it appears he is all-in on the pre-draft scouting. Just how much is the team now spending on this investment? Rod Wood wouldn’t give any direct details, but he did indicate it was a significant increase:
I asked Wood about Detroit's budget for all these pro days. Declined to offer numbers, but said draft investment has grown substantially— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) March 29, 2017
Even though Quinn had a seemingly successful first draft without the benefit of all these increased resources, Wood stressed exactly how important this investment is.
Wood: "Whatever it costs to do that is well worth it if we land a player that’s going to be impactful on the field.”— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) March 29, 2017
And how is that money getting spent, exactly? Wood explained:
“We’ve invested in the whole process of player acquisition, both in terms of the people we’ve hired and the process Bob’s team goes through in evaluating both in pro days and Combine and any other way they need to get to know the players.”
Whether this significant increase in spending will result in a better draft or not remains to be seen. Still, for a team with a history of draft blunders, it’s refreshing to see the entire organization so committed to investing in the most essential way to rebuild a franchise.