The Detroit Lions were down in Indianapolis this past week for the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
The week kicked off Wednesday with general managers and head coaches meeting with the media, including Lions GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.
Patricia talked about new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and why he was such an attractive candidate for the Lions.
“He’s obviously someone I have a great deal of respect for playing against him in some of the bigger stages of our game,” Patricia said. “One of the things that’s great about him is just kind of the experience through the different systems he’s been in. He’s been able to evolve and adapt many different offenses to fit the quarterbacks he’s been around.”
The Lions' offense returns quite a few starters, but they still have some positions of need, including at tight end.
"If there’s a player that’s worthy of the eighth overall pick and he happens to be a tight end then I’m not against that," Quinn said. "It’s kind of a little bit early in the process to say who that player may or may not be. But I don’t have any guidelines that I’ve ever developed over my years in scouting that say you can’t take a player at this position at that number."
This year's tight end class is deep and talented, led by T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant of Iowa, who could be the first two tight end teammates both taken in the first round of the draft in the modern era.
“I mean that’s something special,” Hockenson said. “Coming from the University of Iowa and just knowing how hard everyone works there … just being one of the first duos to do that would be really special.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKERS AT COMBINE
Quinn has said multiple times this offseason he wants more playmakers on the roster, and there are plenty of defensive guys here in Indianapolis that fit the bill.
“I would say there are some defensive players in there that are impact type of guys – that we’ll see how they fall, they could help us,” Patricia said, when asked about the draft as a whole.
The pass rushers talked to the media Saturday, and will take part in on-field testing Sunday. There are several that could interest the Lions in the first round, including Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who Mike O'Hara has the Lions selecting in his Mock 8 2.0.
“I just feel like my versatility is something that is very, very important when you talk about my game,” Ferrell said. “I feel like that has always given me an edge as far as giving me a benefit on the field.
“Not only just my versatility as player, I can play defensive end, and I played some defensive tackle this past year – three technique – and I’ve also dropped into coverage as an outside linebacker. But not only just doing those things, but I feel like I’ve done them at a consistently high level. That’s always given me a bit of confidence and I’ve done it against the best competition so far playing at Clemson.”
The defensive playmakers in this draft aren't just limited to pass rushers either.
LSU's Greedy Williams is widely considered the top corner in this class. He and the rest of the defensive backs meet with the media Sunday afternoon and take part in on-field testing Monday to close out the Combine.
The Lions return all of their starting corners, but could still look to upgrade the position. The development of third-year cornerback Teez Tabor could also affect the Lions' needs at the position. Tabor hasn't made a huge impact his first two seasons, but Quinn still has faith in him.
“He obviously hasn’t played as much as I would’ve hoped, but I think we’re not giving up on him," Quinn said. "I actually had a conversation with him a couple days ago.
“He’s a guy that we’re counting on to get better. Teez was pretty young when we drafted him. Some guys take a huge step between year one and year two, I’m hoping Teez takes a big step from year two to year three.”
View photos of the Detroit Lions at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
OTHER NOTABLE ITEMS
- As it currently stands, the Lions will have nine picks in the 2019 draft. Find out where they all fall here.
- See what all the NFC North general managers and head coaches had to say down at the combine this week.
- Catch up on all of Tim Twentyman & Mike O'Hara's daily combine observations: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3