It’s convenient that the Lions practice facility in Allen Park is so close to the Detroit airport, especially in the spring.
Each NFL team is allowed to bring in 30 draft-eligible players for a pre-draft visit. This week the Lions brought in offensive tackle Eric Fisher (Rochester’s Stoney Creek High School, Central Michigan), cornerback David Amerson (North Carolina State) and versatile running back Onterio McCalebb (Auburn).
A few weeks ago Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson (in photo), both wide receivers from Tennessee, visited.
These visits are key to the draft process and ocasionally come into play down the road.
At the NFL Combine in late February, teams have quick meetings with several players. They may take a potential first-round pick out to dinner or meet privately with a few during the Combine week.
They can not get to everyone.
If a guy doesn’t get a pre-draft visit he could still be on the Lions’ radar. Some guys the Lions want to get to know a little better. Some players they feel they know after the Combine.
Last year’s first-round pick Riley Reiff was not invited for a visit, but met with the team at the Combine.
The pre-draft visit features a physical exam. The players can also be interviewed and tested. But they cannot be timed and tested on the field.
Even if they don’t get to draft a guy who impressed them at his pre-draft visit, he could stay on the Lions’ radar.
Wide receiver Kris Durham is one of those guys. He was brought into Detroit for a pre-draft visit prior to the 2011 draft when he was selected by Seattle in the fourth round.
He was cut after Seahawks training camp in 2012 and immediately signed to the Lions’ practice squad. He was still on the Lions’ radar.
Durham was activated at the end of last season and is likely to contend for one of the wide receiver positions in this summer’s training camp.
It’s all a process and pre-draft visits can be key.