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Draft still Quinn's preferred roster-building method

When Bob Quinn took over as general manager of the Detroit Lions a little over a year ago, he said building a winning organization was a day-by-day and month-by-month process, and he planned to build Detroit's roster the right way for the long haul.

It's a philosophy that's formed on building through the draft and supplementing in free agency, when that opportunity strikes and fits.

"Yeah, I mean, I'm not opposed to free agency," Quinn said in his postseason press conference last week. "I think you have to pick and choose your spots."

Quinn's big free-agent splash last year was acquiring wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. to help fill the void left by Calvin Johnson's retirement.

Jones had a solid season, finishing with 55 receptions for 930 yards (16.9 average) and four touchdowns.

The signing of free-agent safeties Tavon Wilson and Rafael Bush, along with receivers Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts, cornerback Johnson Bademosi and defensive tackle Stefan Charles were all good signings in free agency that landed both starters and key contributors.

But there were also some misses. Running back Stevan Ridley, lineman Geoff Schwartz and defensive end Wallace Gilberry never panned out.

"Last year we did a few things in free agency, some of those guys worked out, some of the guys didn't," Quinn said. "That's kind of how free agency goes. You're never going to bat 1,000 in free agency.

"Ideally, I think I said this a year ago, that I believe in building the team through the draft and then you supplement through free agency. We've looked at a lot of the free agents, I've looked at a number of them myself. If we feel there's a good fit there we'll go ahead and do that."

But the draft is the preferred method, and Quinn's first go at it with the Lions in 2016 is showing nice early returns.

See which Detroit Lions players are set to become free agents following the 2016 NFL season.

Taylor Decker played every snap at left tackle, and was named to the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie Team.

A'Shawn Robinson is an ascending player at defensive tackle, and Graham Glasgow started 11 games at both guard and center in a jack-of-all-trades role.

Beyond those top three picks, safety Miles Killebrew, offensive lineman Joe Dahl, linebacker Antwione Williams, defensive end Anthony Zettel and running back Dwayne Washington all played roles throughout the year.

In all, eight of Quinn's 10 draft picks played as rookies, and a couple undrafted free agents (CB Adairius Barnes & TE Cole Wick) earned roles as well.

The Lions currently have an estimated $46.48 million in cap space, according to spotrac, which gives them room to maneuver this offseason, but the draft is still where Quinn will probably look to make his biggest splash.

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