In all his years as a scout and front office personnel member for the New England Patriots, and then the last four years as general manager for the Detroit Lions, Bob Quinn has never had a draft pick as high as the Lions' No. 3 pick in this year's draft that kicks off Thursday night.
While he certainly hopes to never have this high of a pick again, he did admit in a conference call Friday morning that there's a bit of excitement that surrounds picking this high, not only because of the attention it gets, but because it should also bring an impact player to Detroit for years to come.
In this draft in particular, Detroit's No. 3 pick could be highly coveted by some teams looking to move up to potentially draft a quarterback. Quinn says he's had those discussions with teams.
"I've had a few of those conversations over the last week or so and had a few of those conversations honestly as far back as the Combine," he said. "There will be more substantive talks next week, if people are interested."
Quinn will have a pretty good idea of where he stands with the No. 3 pick by Thursday afternoon, and doesn't expect to be making any huge decisions on trading the pick while the Lions are on the clock Thursday night.
The Lions currently have four picks inside the top 85 of this draft (3, 35, 67 and 85), and Quinn said he's open to moving back and gaining more capital at the top of the draft, but it has to make sense. It doesn't seem like he's as open to moving far enough back where he still can't select a top tier impact player.
"If you're going to trade back after 10 or 11 then you have to know the ramifications of that," Quinn said. "You're going to get a different level of player. That has to be factored in with the compensation you're going to get back and if you feel good about losing out on one of those guys you like higher.
"When you're talking about values and tiers in the draft, if you drop from your tier one to tier two, then you're getting a different level player, so the draft value chart might get thrown out the window because if you're going to do that, you better get a huge return. You better win that trade on the value chart double."
Translation: Don't expect Quinn or the Lions to move back where they don't have a chance to select a player they deem top tier, unless they get an offer that completely knocks their socks off. Miami at No. 5 and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6 have been the most talked about likely trade partners for the Lions heading into the draft.
Detroit needs more impact players on this roster, and getting a top tier player in the first round, and then impact players on Day 2 and beyond, should be the goal heading in.
Quinn said he and staff have compared the third pick to the picks behind it, and if there's an opportunity to move back, it will have to make sense.
"Some of that's instinct," Quinn said. "Some of that's value. Some of that's the player. It's all combined. It's not one computer project that you just type it in and say do it or not. You have to have that feel about where you can go down to what kind of player you can get later on.
"We have high expectations for whoever we draft, especially in the situation we're in now. I think when you're going through the draft, you really have to look for a certain type of player that's going to be able to come in and contribute, probably without an offseason program.
"How much time are these rookies going to have to learn the system? I don't know. That's really up in the air right now, so I think we have to do a good job of making sure the evaluation and the player we select can come in right away, especially if we're drafting that early, come in Day 1 and be a player and help us win games."