Ash Thompson brings you the Detroit Lions draft plans, as revealed by the team’s GM Bob Quinn.
There once was a young man from Norwood
Who tried not to be well understood
He spoke to the press
With a pre-draft address
So the fans of the team would buy falsehood.
Bob Quinn talks a lot without saying much. If you look carefully at what he says, however, there are nuggets to be gleaned from his words. I will do my best for the rest of Draftmas to yank the goodies out and give them to you. He typically has a press availability after each day of the draft. Once the festivities have begun I will incorporate those availabilities into the process.
Four Bob Quinn Quotes
“There’s a lot of defensive players in this draft that might not fit the exact model of the size, speed, for each position. But I think when you watch their film, they’re really good players, they might just be a little small for their respective positions. This game nowadays in the NFL, it’s a third-down game. It’s a sub game, we’re in nickel defense 75 percent of the time. So, some of these guys that are a little bit smaller, you kind of have to step away and say, ‘What can they do on third down and what can they do on nickel defense,’ since we’re in it so much. So, I think it’s an important thing to kind of always sort of evolve as the League evolves. You know, 15, 20 years ago, everybody in the League had a fullback. Now, only eight or 10 teams do. So, every year, every group of years, things change within the League, in sort of trend. So, I think some of these players at different positions definitely have a role and we spend a lot of time talking to those guys this year.”
Many Lions fans and media have treated this quote as though it applies exclusively to round one. The thing to remember is that this was part of Quinn’s opening statement. It was not an off the cuff response to a question. It was a prepared statement by a man knowing 31 other teams were going to dissect everything he said. Quinn has historically cached his lies in enough truth that people could look at his statements after the draft and see exactly what he was talking about. We have no idea what he means by this, if anything.
“It’s a situation where it’s really hard to say right now, to be quite frank with you, because some teams in that 13-15 (range), they don’t want to do anything. But you get an offer from No. 21 and it looks really good and you’re looking at the board and you’re saying, ‘No. 8 to No. 21 is 13 spots, there’s 13 good players I like there.’ So you have to do quick math and you look at your board and say, ‘All right, I’m at least going to get that guy,’ and then you kind of just evaluate it there.”
Shortly after this statement, the team with the 21st pick went out and acquired an extra first-round pick. Would Quinn move back to 21 if the price was right? I’ll discuss that in the trade backs today. Quinn knows exactly who has what pick. He did not just randomly pull a number out of the air. Would Quinn rather have Josh Allen or Noah Fant and Garret Bradbury?
“Yeah, there’s a couple players right at the top that you obviously would love to have. I just don’t think I have enough ammunition to get up there. Like I said previously, I rather move back a couple spots, if anything. So, there’s definitely good players at the top, at the very top.”
Would the Lions trade up if the cost was relatively small? Yes, they would – if a player fell to somewhere that they thought they could make the move without sacrificing an immediate impact player. I read this as if at around pick five or so Williams, Allen, or Bosa are there, the Lions will make the call. If they have to pay a fourth or less to make the move, chances are that they will not do it. Tampa Bay is changing defensive schemes and would likely be quite pleased to pick up some depth players in this draft. If the Giants are not taking a quarterback, they need to load up on weapons for when they do. An early day three pick for a two-spot move back would still likely get them the top receiver or offensive lineman in the draft.
“It’s a balance. I would say I’m more in the production-on-the-field-side of things. But I think what happens is, you grade the players in the Fall, right? Our scouts are out there, I’m watching tape, I’m going to practice, I’m going to games. You kind of have your board set in December. It changes quite a bit the more opinions you get. But I’d say the thing you have to realize is that you can’t change your board after the Combine incredibly.”
So, do not look for the Lions to draft someone whose stock jumped after the combine. They have also shown a willingness to take a player with good tape who does not test well.
Three Snack Foods
Yesterday we did some fish and sweets, today it’s party classic dips. Guac, Pico, and Queso are on the menu. Each can be made in 20 minutes or less the night of. Scoop them up with nachos and enjoy.
4 avocados, make sure they’re squishy, underripe avocados are nasty, scoop the green into a bowl and mash it up in a medium bowl.
1 small red onion diced small and added to the bowl.
1/2 pkg of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters and added to the bowl.
1/2 bunch of cilantro roughly chopped and added to the bowl.
1 jalapeno pepper cut into quarters lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and white with a spoon. dice the flesh of the pepper and add it to the bowl.
2 cloves of garlic, minced and added to the bowl.
The juice from one lime added to the bowl.
1 tsp of salt added to the bowl.
Mix the contents of the bowl well and serve.
Pico De Gallo
1 package of cherry Tomatoes cut into quarters and added to a medium bowl.
1/2 small red onion diced small and added to the bowl.
2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed as above and flesh added to the bowl
1/2 bunch of Cilantro roughly chopped and added to the bowl.
2 cloves of garlic minced and added to the bowl.
1 lime juiced and added to the bowl.
Mix the contents of the bowl and enjoy your salsa.
1/2 red onion chopped
1/2 pkg cherry tomatoes quartered.
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and minced
12 oz American cheese shredded
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1 bunch of Cilantro roughly chopped
Heat a drizzle of oil in large skillet on medium. dump the garlic and jalapeno, and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the onion and cook until the onions start to soften (3-4 minutes). Add the cheese and milk. Stir it until the cheese is melted. stir in the tomatoes and Cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Here is the shopping list if you want to make all three:
2 pkg cherry tomatoes
2 bunches of cilantro
2 red onions
5 jalapeno peppers
12 oz American Cheese
4 oz jack cheese
1 bunch of garlic cloves
Trades for Pass Rushers
As I stated above, the Seattle Seahawks, the team with the No.21 pick, trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs to pick up an extra first-round pick may very well not be a coincidence. Pick 21 is too late to replace Clark immediately. By that pick, I would expect that Bosa, Allen, Brian Burns, Clellin Ferrell, and possibly even Chase Winovich to be gone. There is a possibility that Montez Sweat will be available. His enlarged heart makes that a poor long term bet in the first round, however. Rashan Gary might be there, but asking him to switch positions and also make an immediate impact is a terrible idea. Would Bob Quinn take the trade to move that far back? The Seahawks just made the idea a lot more palatable.
A team I discussed previously, the Oakland Raiders, desperately need to add some pass rush presence, and may come calling to the Lions. They are farther back than the Seahawks, and if both are on the phone while the Lions are on the clock, it is possible that the Lions could get more than just the Raiders two first-round picks. If Quinn could add two immediate first rounders, and a later pick that let him turn the Lions fourth into a third, he surely would consider it.
The Tiered Draft Board
Players who would need a few games to get in, or rely on an extremely predictable injury like Danny Amendola to get on the field are the next tier: starters by the end of their rookie year. Michael Dieter could very well take the job before training camp, but I have him just a notch behind the other interior offensive line prospects I mentioned yesterday. A redshirt senior is often playing against players that are three or four years younger than he is on Saturdays. I do not trust them to get bigger, faster, and stronger to the level that other prospects do. He bullied his opposition at Wisconsin, but I am not sure there is much more to his game. regardless, he is atop the list of players I expect to take a starting spot by the end of their rookie years.
Nasir Adderly is a spectacular safety prospect. He is the only player in the draft that I think would begin the year playing in a three-safety package, and force his way onto the field on a full-time basis doing more than that before the end of the year. He can play in the box, and cover slot receivers, he is also useful in a centerfielder role. As far as all scenario safeties go I this draft, He is my number one.
Next in this tier are the receivers. Danny Amendola is going to get hurt. The Lions do not have to get his replacement this early, but there are three players that I think may very well take his job even if he stays healthy. Deebo Samuel is a slick route runner. He is the analog replacement for Golden Tate in this draft. At 5’11” and 215 lbs, he has the thick body and slick hands that Lions fans are used to. He is also a redshirt senior, but he doesn’t need to get better, he is ready for prime time. AJ Brown creates separation. He has a big body and could give the Lions the receiver they’ve been missing in the middle of the field since Anquan Boldin left town. He is more in that vein than a Tate replacement. K’Neal Harry is another player that is at his best with the ball in his hands. He is a monstrously large receiver who can work the entire field from any position.
Chase Winovich, is a familiar player to Lions fans. He showed the athleticism at the combine in off the ball drills to eventually be a serviceable Jack linebacker. He is already a solid pass rushing prospect, and that versatility has greatly expanded the number of teams that would consider him, including the Lions. Clellin Ferrell also showed adequate athleticism to make the move. He was a much more highly touted prospect than Winovich going into the pre-draft process. I would call it almost a toss-up between the two at this point.
Mack Wilson is the only linebacker left in the draft that I think could outplay Christian Jones as a rookie. I am not sure if I have said it previously but this linebacker class is not very good. There are a lot of coverage specialists, and a lot of two-down thumpers (really one-down in the NFL at this point), but there are very few three-down linebackers. Mack is my last out of the box three-down player at the linebacker position.
The last player that I think would steal a full-time job by the end of his rookie year is Christian Wilkins, the defensive tackle from Clemson. He is at his best when taking an edge and blasting a gap. He showed the level of strength and stubbornness required to adapt quickly to what the Lions do to defend the run. I think the play of A’Shawn Robinson in the second half of the season was as a result of Snacks Harrison’s arrival before the trade deadline. Wilkins has a much better profile to wreck offenses beside Harrison. Because the Lions are fine at the position, he ranks last in the tier.