It was fitting – and perhaps an indication of what might be coming – that on Friday night Lem Barney announced Florida cornerback Teez Tabor as the Detroit Lions' second-round pick on Day 2 of this year's draft.
Instinct, developed by experience and ability, was part of what made Barney a Hall of Fame cornerback in the 11 seasons he played for the Lions.
Instinct, something Tabor displayed in his three seasons at Florida, can overcome a lack of speed that raised questions about whether general manager Bob Quinn reached when he drafted Tabor 53rd overall and ahead of faster cornerbacks.
And instincts – Quinn's own, combined with the preparation that has been the benchmark of his tenure as GM – are as important in the ultimate selection process as what the scouts and evaluators see on their stop watches.
This week's Countdown breakdown: it includes instincts vs. stop watches with an old line from Barney as it pertains to playing cornerback, light trade winds, the Lions not drafting a running back, passing on a first-round pass rusher, two prospects adding a MAC attack to the passing game and what instant draft grades mean (if anything).
We start with Lem Barney:
1. Instinct: Nobody could have projected that Barney's bust would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton when the Lions drafted him in the second round out of Jackson State in 1967, but he made an instant impact.
Barney was a starter on opening day against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. On the first pass thrown by Bart Starr in his direction, Barney broke on the ball and made a diving, rolling interception. He jumped to his feet and raced into the end zone for a touchdown.
There would be more plays like that throughout Barney's 11 seasons. For his career he had 56 picks, seven of them returned for TDs, and two more TDs on fumble returns.
A Detroit sports columnist dubbed him "The Supernatural," and it stuck. He did things other cornerbacks of his era couldn't.
Barney was asked once how he could read plays.
"A little voice says ... now ... " he said.
Translation: It was instinct that got Barney in the right place to use his natural ability. He studied the game and read quarterbacks, receivers and their tendencies.
I am not projecting that Tabor will be the next Lem Barney. Nobody else has been since Barney retired after the 1977 season.
But as Quinn said in discounting Tabor's slow time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine and even slower 40 time in his Pro Day, he never saw anybody run by him in the three seasons he played for Florida.
"I would rank instincts very near the top," Quinn said when asked where he ranks skills for defensive players. "If you don't have those anticipations, instincts, awareness, route recognition ... all those things, I think I put those higher up than how fast the guy ran at the Combine.
"I take playing speed as a more important gauge than time speed."
2. Speed trap: The Lions drafted three defensive backs in 2012, and all three were timed in well under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Bill Bentley (third round), Chris Greenwood (fifth) and Jonte Green (sixth) represented the future of the secondary at some level.
For a variety of reasons – injuries, lack of developing, limited to no production – all had short careers. They combined to play 52 games, with 15 starts and one interception – by Green.
But they all could run.
3. Pass rusher: The Lions were looking for help in the front seven on their defense, but they went for linebackers with two picks in the first four rounds instead of a lineman or two.
Jarrad Davis of Florida was a solid pick in the first-round. He grades out high, both on ability and flawless character. Jalen Reeves-Maybin was highly productive when healthy as a sophomore and junior at Tennessee. An injury ended his 2016 season early.
4. Abdullah, Riddick endorsements: Quinn was emphatic in his post-draft press conference in stating that Ameer Abdullah is the Lions' starting running back. He called the season-ending foot injury he sustained in Game 2 "sort of a fluke thing," adding that "he's back 100 percent."
That ends any doubt about Abdullah's status and health in the early stages of the offseason workout program.
Quinn also said that Theo Riddick is still "dealing with a few things" in his recovery from wrist injuries that put him out late in the season and took away a significant threat in the passing game.
Quinn also said he likes the Lions' depth at running back, all of which explains why he did not draft a running back.
5. Backing up: Quinn's explanation aside, not drafting a runner at any point was the biggest surprise of the Lions' draft. I thought they'd at least add a power back – D'Onta Foreman of Texas being my No. 1 candidate.
Availability and other needs likely had an impact.
The top two prospects were long gone in the first round. Predictably – in an unpredictable first round -- Leonard Fournette of LSU went to Jacksonville with the fourth pick, and Christian McCaffrey went to Carolina with the eighth.
By the time the Lions made their second-round pick, two more were off the board. Minnesota took Dalvin Cook of Florida State at No. 41. Cincinnati took Joe Mixon of Oklahoma at No. 16. Both had character issues – especially Mixon, whose were well documented – and we'll never know if they were under consideration by the Lions.
There were some interesting prospects available after those four – Alvin Kamara of Tennessee, Kareem Hunt of Toledo, James Conner of Pitt and Foreman, all of whom went in the third round, and Mixon's Oklahoma teammate Samaje Perine in the fourth.
6. Trade winds: They were unexpectedly calm in the Lions' war room. Quinn made only one deal – trading down in a swap of third-round picks with the Patriots on Day 2 to get an extra fourth-round pick.
The way it shook out, from the Lions' original spot at No. 85 through No. 127 in the fourth round they had three picks instead of two. The players they drafted were wide receiver Kenny Golladay of Northern Illinois at No. 96, Reeves-Maybin at No. 124 and tight end Michael Roberts of Toledo at No. 127.
Bottom line: The Lions got three players instead of two, and added a big receiver (Golladay), an athletic linebacker (Reeves-Maybin) and a huge tight end with huge hands (Roberts).
7. QB III: For the second straight year Quinn drafted a quarterback in the sixth round. Last year it was Jake Rudock of Iowa and Michigan. This year it was Brad Kaaya of Miami (Fla.), the ninth of 10 quarterbacks taken in an unusually weak class.
Kaaya will compete with Rudock for the backup job.
In his pre-draft press conference a year ago Quinn said he believes it is good business to add a young quarterback every year or two, and he's been as good as his word in taking Rudock and Kaaya in his first two drafts.
8. Draft grades, Lions Big MACs: As it does every year, the Lions' draft has gotten a range of grades from the media, and it's fair game. It's also part of the fun of the gig for the beat writers who cover the individual teams, as well as the national media who've turned the draft into a niche industry.
But some things don't quite add up. For example, Mel Kiper of ESPN gave the Buffalo Bills an A-, with an acknowledgement at the end of his column that changes in the front office could be coming.
Sure enough, GM Doug Whaley was fired Sunday morning, along with his staff.
As for Golladay and Roberts, the Lions got two big players who had big production at Northern Illinois and Toledo. Both are Mid-American Conference schools, which makes it hard to question the level of competition Golladay faced and praise Roberts.