What started as the evaluation of 1,800 or so college players is almost a finalized draft board for general manager Bob Quinn and the Detroit Lions. The draft is just a week away, and Quinn held his annual pre-draft press conference in Allen Park on Thursday.
Here are the key questions to come out of that media session:
Is Quinn willing to move up from the No. 8 pick?
There are a couple players right at the top that Quinn admitted he’d love to have, but the problem with any trade up is having the ammunition in terms of draft capital to make such a move.
“I just don’t think I have enough ammunition to get up there,” Quinn said. “I don’t think I’m going to be in the business of moving up in this year’s draft, but there are players worthy of that.”
What about a willingness to move back?
“I’d rather move back a couple spots, if anything,” he said.
Quinn described this draft as deep at a number of positions, especially on the defensive side of the football, and he believes there are a good number of players who can come in and help immediately.
In a draft like that, acquiring more picks, and subsequently more talent and depth for the roster, is always something Quinn will consider.
Speaking of the defensive players specifically, Quinn said this was an interesting year in that there’s a lot of defensive players in this draft that might not fit the model of the size and speed for each position, but when watching the video, he sees very good football players, they might just be a little small for their respective positions.
The NFL is now a third-down game with teams in the nickel 75 percent of the time, so some of the players who are a little bit smaller are being evaluated as sub package players, and have more value than they might have had in year’s past. Quinn said he and his staff spent a lot of time talking about those players this year.
Evolve as the league evolves.
Is there a range the Lions would still like to stay in when moving back?
It really just comes down to the offer and the players available. Moving from No. 8 to No. 21, for example, is 13 spots. That’s 13 players off the board.
“You have to do quick math and look at your board and say, ‘Alright, I’m going to at least get that guy and just kind of evaluate it there,’” Quinn said.
What is Quinn’s evaluation of the offensive line prospects in this draft?
He considers this a deep class of offensive linemen. The Lions have some veteran players on the roster who will compete for their open right guard spot, but Quinn could also tap into this draft class for help as well.
“It’s a position we’ve studied really hard,” he said of the offensive line. “I think our offensive line coaches were out more this year than in previous years. We’ll kind of see how that goes but there’s good depth at that position from the first round all the way to I’d say the fifth and sixth rounds.”
Quinn likes the depth of the interior class a little more than the tackle class, but he also made the point that there are a number of players listed as tackle who can also play guard or vice versa. They’ve spent a lot of time studying the film on those versatile players.
Position versatility along the offensive line has a ton of value for Quinn.
How does the current talent/depth of the roster affect the draft?
The Lions bring back a lot of starters from a top 10 defense and were very busy in the free-agent market upgrading talent and depth on both sides of the ball.
Quinn said he’s going into this draft a little more open, and won't have to force the board.
“I’ve always said since the day I got here that the draft is a blend of need and best available,” Quinn said. “I think this year, just looking at our situation right now, with what the board looks like and what are perceived needs are, probably a little bit more pushing toward best available player. I think that’s a good thing.”