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Quinn: Lions 'in good shape' at defensive end, running back

When it comes to the Detroit Lions, most analysts and fans looked at last year's statistics and made a case there was a need for the the Lions to come away with a pass rusher and running back somewhere early in this year's draft.

We quickly found out after the conclusion of the draft on Saturday that what fans and analysts consider being a team's need doesn't always align with what the decision makers perceive as their need.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said he likes the talent and depth currently on the roster at both running back and defensive end.

"I think we're in good shape in both those spots," he told 97.1 in an interview earlier this week. "I've talked about this many times the last couple days. Our running backs, when they're healthy, and we feel they're going to be ready for the season, are more than capable of producing enough yards on the ground.

"And with the upgrades we've done on the offensive line, they're going to have more room to run. Between Ameer (Abdullah), Theo (Riddick), Zach (Zenner), Dwayne (Washington) and Mike James, and whoever else we might bring in here in the future, I think we're going to have plenty of running backs to carry the load."

That doesn't mean the Lions won't still add a veteran back before the start of the season, but at least on the surface, Quinn appears satisfied if he had to roll into the season with this group.

The Lions rushed for more than 100 yards as a team when Abdullah and Riddick were on the field together last season. Unfortunately, that was for only the first two games before Abdullah tore a ligament in his foot. It was the second major surgery for Abdullah (shoulder) in the calendar year of 2016.

The additions of right tackle Rick Wagner and guard T.J. Lang via free agency, and the fact that left tackle Taylor Decker will have a year under his belt, has Quinn optimistic that Detroit's 30th ranked rushing attack last season can be vastly improved with the current personnel at running back because of the upgrades he's made upfront.

When it comes to Detroit's pass rush, only the Cleveland Browns had fewer sacks than the Lions (26) last season. That statistic again led most analysts and fans to prioritize pass rusher as a need in the draft.

The wild card factor here is that Ziggy Ansah dealt with a nagging ankle injury all last season and finished with just two sacks. He had 14.5 sacks and was a Pro Bowler when healthy in 2015. A healthy Ansah obviously makes a big difference.

Quinn did address the d-line in the draft, selecting Arkansas defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter in the sixth round and Eastern Michigan defensive end Pat O'Connor in the seventh, but most thought he might address it earlier.

Again, Quinn likes the talent and depth he currently employs.

"I feel good," he said in his post-draft press conference when asked about his pass-rushing situation. "Ziggy Ansah, Kerry Hyder, Cornelius Washington. Guys on the inside, A'Shawn (Robinson), Armonty Bryant, (Anthony) Zettel. I feel good."

The Lions signed Washington in free agency and feel like he's a good fit in their scheme. Hyder led the Lions last year with eight sacks. Bryant recorded three sacks in five games with Detroit last season before injuring his knee.

Both running back and defensive end position could still see some veteran additions in the months leading up to the start of the season, but at least right now, Quinn likes the talent he has, even if a lot hinges on Abdullah and Ansah staying healthy.

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