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O'HARA: Bob Quinn's preparation stands out

So many good things happened before the Detroit Lions made their first selection on Day One of this year's NFL draft, that they could give the gods of good draft fortune a blanket thank you for how they would end up drafting a player in the first round who they wanted at a position they needed to improve.

That doesn't mean it was pure luck that let general manager Bob Quinn take linebacker Jarrad Davis of Florida with the 21st pick in the first round Thursday night.

Too much hard work, too much planning and too much detailed preparation is involved to call it luck for the Lions to be able to draft Davis, a highly skilled player with the ability to play on every down.

View behind-the-scenes images from inside the Detroit Lions draft room.

Some good things happened in the first round that were unexpected, chief among them an early run on offensive players – primarily quarterbacks and receivers – to let the Lions help their defense with their first-round pick.

By drafting Davis, the Lions filled a gaping need and set themselves up to fortify other areas in rounds two and three on Friday and the final four rounds of the seven-round draft on Saturday.

"Day two will be exactly like day one," Quinn said Thursday night. "Follow your board – take the best players available, meshing with your needs."

But the bottom line on what happened in the first round is that Quinn was ready to take advantage of what happened in the first 20 picks before it was the Lions' turn to draft.

If anything stands out in what is now Quinn's second year as GM of the Lions it's that he and his staff are prepared for whatever comes their way. That includes the draft board falling a different way than most had expected.

What was projected to be a top-heavy first half of the first round was weighted toward offense. Eight of the first 12 players were drafted on offense. Three quarterbacks were taken, all by teams that traded up for them -- Chicago (Mitchell Trubisky), Kansas City (Patrick Mahomes II) and Houston (Deshaun Watson).

In addition three receivers and two running backs went off the board.

"I was a little surprised how fast some of those offensive players went off," Quinn said. "We were expecting a few more defensive players to go in the 20 picks before us.

"That's definitely part of what we looked at, in terms of having our eye on a certain guy and how many players on the other side of the ball (offense) would go. When we started seeing receivers go off the board, it was a good thing to see."

The Lions had a good feel for Davis from their exhaustive scouting process. That included the time they spent putting him through an individual workout, with Quinn and other members of the staff present.

In his interview with members of the Detroit media Thursday night, Davis said how much of a positive impression it made on him that the Lions devoted so much time to him.

"It was a good, thorough process," Quinn said. "It was the whole gamut with this guy. I felt like we did a real thorough job and got a player who could help us."

The front seven on defense – linebackers and defensive line – was a priority for the Lions going into the draft. The Lions got not big plays from their linebackers last year – no sacks, no interceptions, no fumble recoveries.

"It's a position that we had trouble with last year – keeping guys healthy, first off," Quinn said. "You really need a guy in the middle of your defense who can be looked upon to call your defense and hopefully become a leader in time – really be that gel between the secondary and the defensive line.

"It's a position of need, for sure."

Quinn has stressed character being a key trait in players, and by all accounts, Davis was a high-character player at Florida.

"It's a big part of it," Quinn said. "We talked about this in my pre-draft press conference. None of these kids are perfect. You kind of minimize risk when you take guys without issues.

"I feel real comfortable with the guy we took. Anybody you could talk to (at Florida) ... they gave the guy glowing remarks in terms of intelligence, work ethic, toughness, leadership. All those things, it was one after another. It wasn't just one source, one coach.

"We had a long talk with him and spent a number of hours with him and felt comfortable."

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