A look at what NFL scouts said about the players from the 2023 Detroit Lions’ recruiting class.
The NFL draft season is filled with a lot of crap. We make great models and boards that only work with a small fraction of the knowledge needed to properly explore players. We’re obsessed with draft guides, test speeds, and arm lengths.
One of the most interesting aspects of the pre-draft process is when NFL scouts talk to the media, almost always anonymously. While there are some scouts who would potentially use this opportunity to change public perception of a prospect they like or dislike for their own benefit, more often than not, it allows scouts to give their true thoughts on a player without a filter.
For years—39, to be exact—former writer Bob McGinn has been getting these scouts’ ideas about recruiting classes through anonymity. Now with Go Long, McGinn has continued that tradition, and he offers an impressive bank of information for those researching how scouts view new picks for their team.
So let’s take a look at what some of these scouts have to say about recruiting for the Detroit Lions.
Note: Since this content is paywalled, I will only provide some information provided. If you want to see the full ideas, Consider subscribing to the Go Long alternative.
RB Jahmir Gibbs
Link to McGinn’s article on the RB class
While most scouts have had Texas running back Bejan Robinson ranked first in this year’s class, Gibbs was a distant second in the class by McGinn’s sources. But there was one scout who actually had Gibbs on Robinson.
“It looks a lot like Camara,” said that scout. “That kind of movement and balance. Versatile, he catches, he runs. He’s got it all, man. His skill set would play well in the league. You could make that comparison (to Aaron Jones), but Aaron is a little straight. This guy has more movement.” a little “.
He also checked the character’s box, according to another scout.
“he works hard. I got a vision. angle can get. He’s been through a lot in his life. It was kind of a rough upbringing… really beat a lot. Really, really good kid.”
LB Jack Campbell
Link to McGinn’s article on the LB class
Unlike some big boards, McGinn’s sources had Campbell as the best prospect in this year’s class. His article contains a file tons A really good anecdote on Campbell. Here are some excerpts from various anonymous sources;
Guys in meetings will say, “Well, I don’t know if he’s athletic enough?” When you look at Jack Campbell, we all tend to say, “Well, he’d be a two-legged guy.” This guy was a very good athlete. Hell of a soccer player.”
“What separates him is his sense of the game. He’s got great instincts and he makes plays. He’s (green point) on a second.”
“He’s going to play for a long time. The pace surprised me. I thought he’d run a 4.8-something. But he’s a footballer. In the ’70s, he would have been (great). I don’t think he’s more of a two-ball player because he doesn’t work well enough in space.
“I think the concerns would be matching situations in the passing game, but I think you can kind of cover him up so he doesn’t get exposed for a long time. He’s athletic. He tested well. He ran fast enough. I wish he was attacking the scrimmage line and was more in the backfield for a guy his size.” “.
TE Sam Laporta
Link to McGinn’s article on the WR/TE class
LaPorta was ranked only the fifth-ranked tight end by McGinn’s sources, while he was the second tight end off the plate the week of the draft. But at least the scout had one Laporta as his favorite tight end in a deep season.
“He’s got good hands. His role as blocker should improve but he’s more than willing to do it. He’s had the dumb quarterback. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being one of the best if not the best tight ends this season.”
There are concerns about his size and mechanics, but his rise in the receiving game overshadows those concerns.
“He runs excellent runs and has excellent hands. Great feeling. He’s going to be a play-making tight end. That insult was awful, but you could tell he’s a good athlete. He’s a base player based on what he plays in the league, for sure.”
DB Bryan Branch
Link to McGinn’s article on databases
Branch was considered the top safe in the class by a wide margin, but according to McGinn’s sources, he was a long way from being drafted in the first round, contrary to public perception of him.
“Is it too slow for a nickel, and can it communicate to be safe?” said one of the scouts. “That should be the key. He’s a great footballer but he has some warts on him. He can’t cover up for long (from the hole).”
Many teased Branch’s average athletes, but another scout said it still wasn’t on the field.
“He doesn’t fit the profile of an elite athlete because his numbers are so beautiful. But the thing about him is just the instincts. His movements are more decisive when he’s on the field. He sees things faster.”
QB Hendon Hooker
Link to McGinn’s article on QBs
The fifth-best quarterback, according to McGinn’s sources, Hekker was widely praised for his intelligence, and at least one source believed him to be a first-round talent.
Should be drafted in the first round. The reason he was recruited initially was to get a fifth-year option, which is smart because he’s injured. Throws an accurate pass. He can throw the ball deep. Really good decision maker. Wonderful kid. ”
Another thinks he’s a solid player in this league on the level of Teddy Bridgewater.
“Just on point, got the drive. He’s accurate, his link. His arm’s good. He’s athletic enough. A little awkward way of running. He can get out of trouble. He’s better than them (Richardson, Levis). He’s a better football mind.” Who Stroud. By no means is this guy a franchise maker. He’s going to be a solid start.”
The biggest concern, many have said, is anticipating how he will evolve out of an overly simple Tennessee offense.
“This insult is hard to get players out of. There will be a huge learning curve in terms of reading progress.”
DT Broderick Martin
Link to McGinn’s article on DLs
Martin did not make McGinn’s Top 15 Defensive Tackles list.. However, he did earn an honorable mention in the “Unsung Hero” section. One scout said, “He’s a sleeper. He’s strong and athletic.”
Note: Lions’ fifth-round pick OL Colby Sorsdal and seventh-round pick WR Antoine Green did not make the McGinn rosters.