Lions’ coaches have plenty of connections to draft prospects

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Willie Beavers

It tends to happen more in free agency, but NFL coaches typically like to look for players with whom they’ve worked before.

The Lions, for example, have welcomed a slew of players the past couple years that played for the Ravens while defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was an assistant there.

In the draft, there are several players who spent time working with some Lions assistants in college. Obviously, without hearing from the coaches, it’s impossible to speculate what a coach thinks of his former players, but surely if the Lions draft a player who worked with a Lions coach, there’s a good chance the pick came after a recommendation from the coach, who would have a deeper knowledge of the prospect.

Here’s a look at some of the Lions’ coaches connections to players in the draft:

Randy Edsall, director of football research/special projects, was Maryland head coach from 2011-15.

DB Sean Davis

DE Yannick Ngakoue

DT Quinton Jefferson

RB Brandon Ross

Al Golden, tight ends coach, was Miami head coach from 2011-15.

CB Artie Burns (taken by Steelers in first round)

S Deon Bush

DE Ufomba Kamalu

LB Raphael Kirby

WR Rashawn Scott

Robert Prince, wide receivers coach, was the offensive coordinator at Boise State from 2012-13.

DE Kamalei Correa

S Darian Thompson

G Rees Odhiambo

C Marcus Henry

CB Donte Deayon

Ron Prince, offensive line coach, was Rutgers offensive coordinator in 2013, and Devin Fitzsimmons, special teams assistant, was an offensive assistant for the Scarlet Knights in 2012.

WR Leonte Carroo

RB Paul James

OT Keith Lumpkin

LB Steve Longa

Fitzsimmons was also special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Delaware in 2013.

OT Ben Curtis

Steven Williams, defensive quality control coach, held three different assistant jobs at Penn State from 2012-14.

DT Austin Johnson

QB Christian Hackenberg

DE Carl Nassib

DT Anthony Zettle

SS Jordan Lucas

TE Kyle Carter

Michael McCarthy, quality control/offensive line, was video coordinator at Western Michigan from 2010-11, graduate assistant at Tulane from 2012-13 and tight ends coach at North Carolina Central in 2014.

OT Willie Beavers (WMU)

WR Daniel Braverman (WMU)

CB Ronald Zamort (WMU)

CB Ryan Smith (NCCU)

OT Arturo Uzdavinis (Tulane)