ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn left the University of Connecticut years earlier and worked his way up through the New England Patriots organization when he reappeared on the Huskies campus as a scout.
He reunited with Randy Edsall there and later at Maryland as Quinn tried to find players for the Patriots and one thing stuck out to Edsall: Quinn’s questions, specifically “What kind of guy is he?”
“Just some probing questions, little subtleties that you ask,” Edsall told ESPN.com recently, prior to the Lions hiring Edsall. “What about if this kid was in this situation, what do you think he would do? Was he ever in a situation like that? He would present a situation and things along those lines.
“In terms of his practice habits, is he a guy that stays out late doing different things? How does he treat the people in the building? Is he a personable guy? Is he one of those kind of individuals? Those kinds of things. Just very, very thorough with what he did.”
That Quinn paid attention to how a player treats low-level staffers might go back to his own beginnings as an equipment manager graduate assistant at UConn. The answer could also reveal something else about the prospect -- something Quinn will place importance on with the Lions as he goes into his first draft and free-agency period.
Character is going to be important in evaluation. That much is clear.
“It’s a big point of emphasis,” Quinn said at his announcement press conference. “That’s definitely going to be taken into account on every draft pick, every free-agent signing that we take.”
Included in that, Quinn said, will be a zero tolerance policy for two things: “Domestic violence and dangerous weapons. Those are two things that I’m not going to stand for, I don’t believe in. That’s how I feel.”
This likely goes back to his start, when Edsall asked him for player evaluations after Edsall was hired by the Huskies in 1999. It’s something that likely goes back to that time in the equipment room.
“In our conversations after [UConn], that was something Quinny came back to, how [a player] handled himself in the locker room and how good of a kid he was,” said Larry Hare, his former equipment boss at UConn. “He learned then that you can be the best player on the field and you can have a lot of good players on the field, but what separates them is how good of a locker room guy you are.
“A lot of times your support staff people are going to have a real good perspective on that and I think that’s something he learned early.”
And don’t be surprised if the same kind of evaluation process comes to Detroit starting later this month at the NFL combine where the Lions will start to get a feel for the players they’ll really want to pursue in the draft.
“Bob always had some interesting questions and things that he would ask,” Edsall said. “That was basically the Patriot way. They were going to find and they wanted to know everything. They wanted to know certain things and they wanted to know a lot.
“That was the thing that was always impressive.”