ORLANDO – Where are the Detroit Lions a better team than they were this time last year?
It's always a good question, and one Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn was asked about during a media session with local beat writers on Monday.
“I think with the type of players that Matt (Patricia) wants to play with on the defensive side of the ball, I think we’re more physical,” Quinn said. “I think we’re going to be better against the run, I think we’re going to be hopefully more disciplined, be able to rush the passer at different levels, whether that’s coming off the edge or using the linebackers to rush the passer, and I think overall we’re a better team all the way around.”
Quinn acknowledged the fact that the Lions lost out on some of their free-agent targets, which happens every year, and said the team also didn’t pursue pricier options at some positions.
But Quinn was able to add a couple starters at linebacker, fill a big hole along the interior of the defensive line with the signing of Sylvester Williams, and he was able to sign or re-sign some potentially important pieces in the secondary in safety Tavon Wilson and cornerbacks DeShawn Shead and Nevin Lawson.
“The corner position in free agency was very deep,” Quinn said. “I think you could kind of really get a lot of value for guys that might not have been right at the top of the board because those guys were probably out of our price range, quite frankly, with the guys that we already have on the team with Darius (Slay) being up there.
“So, we did a lot of work on those guys and, you know, really with the two young guys coming back too in (Teez) Tabor and (Jamal) Agnew, adding those guys in with the new guys that we added this offseason and getting Nevin (Lawson) back, I think it’s a good, quality group.”
The Lions plan to be multiple on defense, and most of the players they signed on that side of the ball had common traits of size and versatility.
On offense, Quinn signed veteran running back LeGarrette Blount, who brings toughness and attitude to the running back group. Blount has a track record of success as a power back.
He also signed tight end Luke Willson, who is expected to be a contributor with Michael Roberts and anyone else the team might add to the tight end group moving forward.
Veteran guard Kenny Wiggins was signed to provide depth along the interior of the offensive line.
Quinn likes the fact that his roster is more physical than it was this time last year. He believes he filled a lot of the big holes he had heading into free agency, and is in a good spot heading into the NFL Draft next month.
“We’ll see how it shakes out and see where everyone ends up playing,” he said. “But I’m really happy with how the offseason’s gone so far.”