Lions and Raiders staffs to coach in Senior Bowl

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The Raiders and Lions pick third, and fifth, respectively in this year’s draft.

But they’ll get the first up-close look at some of the top prospects at the Senior Bowl.

While the “honor” of coaching in Mobile, Ala., usually falls to the teams at the top of the draft order, instability can cause it to be passed along to others.

The Chiefs, owners of the top pick, don’t have a coach (at the moment). The Jaguars, picking second, are looking for a general manager, which may trigger other changes. The Eagles, picking fourth are also looking for a new coach.

So Lions coach Jim Schwartz was happy to step in.

“I think we’re fifth in line. If it would happen, we would embrace it and we would relish that opportunity,” he said, via the team’s official website. “I think there is some insight involved in getting to know those guys over a course of the week and it can confirm some of our scouts’ evaluations that have already worked very long and hard into getting guys evaluated this fall season.

“It can also maybe give us a different perspective on some other guys. Maybe we get a little bit more time with some other guys.”

Schwartz also coached the 2010 version of the game, saying the background he developed on running back Joique Bell was part of the reason they felt comfortable bringing him in.

While combine workouts and pre-draft interviews have become programmed exercises for most players, getting them in a football environment gives coaches a chance to see them when they’re reacting naturally, rather than rehearsed, and now the Raiders and Lions get the first peek behind that curtain.