It happened! We’re slightly closer to the return of football. The time has now come and gone for Bob Quinn’s first NFL Draft. While it wasn’t full of “sexy” or “flashy” picks, from my point of view; it was a solid first outing. The new regime has been tight lipped about their strategy going into this year’s draft. The days of leaks and knowing what players the front office were high on seem to be long gone. However, Quinn was upfront with a few quotes that he delivered on 100% this past weekend. Quinn started off his tenure with one mantra that seems to be the most important facet to the modern NFL.
Injuries happen. When you think to yourself “now we’re screwed” after the likes of Michael Ola get hurt, you know you’ve got problems with your offensive line. Yep, the guy that we picked up from waivers after the Chargers felt he wasn’t up to snuff was not only our starting right tackle but we all knew that the options behind him were nothing more than traffic cones (thanks Chris) for defensive ends to walk around.
Within his first off-season, Quinn added a seasoned veteran in Geoff Schwartz who has shown a lot of upside when healthy at both guard and right tackle. Then, he went out and grabbed Taylor Decker, Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl. Decker will start day one, Glasgow has a very good chance to supplant what was the line’s weakest link in Travis Swanson and Dahl is likely a depth piece. All of these moves point to Quinn’s highest priority. What was easily the weakest position group in 2015 is vastly improved after the draft.
In round two, the Lions were lucky enough to see A’Shawn Robinson still on the board; quite the steal for a prospect of his talent level. While Robinson will likely start at some point in the season, for the time being he’ll be a rotational piece as we figure out what Walker is and see how close Ngata is to the end of his career. It’s another great move from Quinn that will allow us to keep our defensive tackles fresh throughout games without taking large dips in productivity.
Quinn Playing it Safe
A lot of fans and analysts are saying that Quinn played his first draft too safe. Honestly, after years of Mayhew taking swings on wide receivers and injury prone running backs; it was kind of refreshing. Knowing that both sides of the ball have a handful of playmakers, the best thing to do was solidify the positions that would allow them to succeed. Stafford has been sacked 89 times in the past two seasons so he might have had something to say if Quinn decided to skip the line and try to replace Megatron in what was a weak receiving class. Stafford has a bevy of weapons now. What he needed was some guys in front to keep him on his feet and that’s what Quinn gave him.
Another word we’ve heard a lot from Quinn is “competition.” While we weren’t able to grab a clear starting strong safety in free agency, Quinn made sure that there would be a battle for the starting role. Rafael Bush is the favorite but he’ll have Tavon Wilson and rookie Miles Killebrew to beat out. Having to fight for a starting role usually brings out the best in players. Especially those trying to jump start their careers. The safety position is going to be the best camp battle we have going this year and hopefully Caldwell learned from last season that the veterans shouldn’t automatically get the nod. With the exception of the long snapper position that is.
All in all, I liked what Quinn was able to do. I was expecting a trade or two to acquire extra picks or jump up when Tunsil started sliding but it wasn’t a letdown that neither of those things happened. We were able to walk away with some much needed pieces on the offensive line and a monster of a defensive tackle, the latter of which I’m hoping will anchor the line for years to come.