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NFL Draft Weekend

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KEY QUESTIONS: What did Quinn learn from the virtual draft process?

Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn took part in a Zoom conference call following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft to meet with local reporters and go through the Lions' draft.

Here are the Key Questions from that session:

What did Quinn learn from the virtual draft process over the last three days?

Maybe the most important thing he learned is that there can be a good work-family balance amongst his staff.

He loved the fact that he could share this process with his family. His son and daughter made appearances on the television broadcast, and he even put them to work on Day 3 marking off names on his draft board.

Quinn said the last three days have given him a greater appreciation for the family-work environment, and he is considering opportunities moving forward to maybe do a day a week where his staff can work virtually, so they can spend a little more time away from the office and with their families.

He said if there are opportunities to work smarter instead of harder, he's open to that, and it's something he'll evaluate moving forward.

What does Quinn like about his newer and more crowded running back room?

The Lions drafted Georgia running back D’Andre Swift in the second round and doubled down in Day 3, picking up New Mexico State running back Jason Huntley in the fifth round.

Quinn likes the versatility in that room with those additions. He reiterated the fact that he still very much believes in a running-back-by-committee approach, and said we won't see Swift carrying the ball 35 times in a game.

Huntley has some position versatility and adds speed to the group. Swift and Kerryon Johnson make a terrific one-two punch, and Bo Scarbrough will be in the mix too. Huntley will have to earn a role, along with last year's sixth-round pick Ty Johnson, but Quinn seems to like the depth and versatility amongst that group after this draft.

What will the virtual offseason program that begins Monday look like?

The league has given teams some leeway on this, and Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia have decided to start with a three-week virtual classroom four days a week, allowing the players to then work out on their own.

The rookies will get involved two weeks into the program.

How does Quinn define a successful draft?

It's always prudent to give it a couple years before we really start to put hard grades on draft classes. These rookies need to get into the building, learn the scheme, develop a routine, and learn what it's like to be professional football players.

That being said, Quinn reiterated that the best and most cost-effective way to build a roster is through the draft.

A good draft in Quinn's opinion is one where rookies can come in and contribute right away, and the team wins thanks to the depth, talent and star power they provide.

Was the evaluation of fourth-round pick Logan Stenberg difficult considering how much Kentucky's offense changed to a dominant run offense in 2019?

Quinn actually loved that about the evaluation process with Stenberg. He called the Kentucky rookie a "nasty guy."

Quinn admitted there's some lingering questions about Stenberg's pass protection, but that's a welcomed change from the pass-happy college game, where GMs have to guess about how the interior players can handle run blocking. There's no questions in that regard with Stenberg, per Quinn, who said Detroit wants to have more balance in their offense and become a better running football team. He thinks Stenberg can help them with that.

What about the Ohio State connection in this draft?

The Lions took three players in the draft from Ohio State – cornerback Jeff Okudah, guard Jonah Jackson and defensive lineman Jashon Cornell – but Quinn said it wasn't by design. That's just how the board worked out.

Ohio State is a top-flight program, everyone knows that, and they had the second most players drafted in this class behind LSU (14). They tied with Michigan with 10 each.

Jackson was a guy they had at the Senior Bowl and fell in love with. Okudah was the best cornerback in the draft. Cornell fit from a versatility standpoint later in the draft.

Quinn said they were evaluating a lot of the higher graded Ohio State players, and Cornell kept showing up on the tape.

How will potentially not having a spring program affect the later-round picks and UDFAs?

It would be naïve to think there won't be an impact, but Quinn said every rookie will get a fair shot to prove themselves on the field. Those players will just really have to take advantage of a virtual spring, and then prepare themselves to battle the vets come late summer.

Quinn said he expects to sign anywhere from 7-10 undrafted rookie free agents.

What was Quinn's philosophy entering the draft?

He really liked what the team did in free agency bolstering the defense, and thought he filled a lot of holes on that side of the ball. Five of the first seven picks in the draft were on offense – two running backs, two guards and a wide receiver. That wasn't necessarily the plan heading in, per Quinn, but rather a product of how his board played out.

He thinks the combination of free agency and the draft helped both sides of the ball, with the draft especially improving their potential to be more balanced on offense and run the ball more effectively.

What does Huntley add to the offense?

Speed, speed and a little bit more speed. Quinn said that New Mexico State holding their pro day March 7, before the league shut down pro days, certainly helped his cause. He's got some versatility to his game, and could potentially fill a J.D. McKissic-type role in this offense. McKissic left in free agency to sign with Washington.

What is the expectation with Okudah, Swift and some of the other early picks in terms of being starters right away?

Quinn hopes Okudah will be a Day 1 starter as the No. 3 overall pick. Swift will likely join Johnson in a running-back-by-committee approach, as mentioned above.

There are no expectations, outside of maybe Okudah, for any of the rookies to be immediate starters. Quinn would like a lot of these players to become impact contributors early on, but he plans to let it play out on the field, with the best players rising to the top. He just wants competition, and is hopeful a number of these rookies are up to that challenge.

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