ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Bob Quinn has been preparing for this for months -- essentially since soon after he took over as general manager of the Detroit Lions.
In all likelihood, he has mentally prepped for this long before that, as he worked his way up in the New England Patriots system to the point where he was hired by the Lions in January to be their top football executive.
So he has an understanding of what is going to happen, what likely won’t happen, and his role in the entire process.
“At New England I did a lot of different jobs, you know, leading up to the job I’m here today, so I feel like I have an appreciation for everyone’s role in the draft, whether it’s a scouting assistant, whether it’s an area scout or an over-the-top scout, the pro side of things in terms of the draft strategy and the team needs,” Quinn said. “So, I really think I’ve done a lot of those jobs, maybe not every single one of them, so I feel like I’m at a pretty good position to know what those guys are going through and knowing that everyone’s voice really wants to be heard.
“I’m trying to do that and take everyone’s opinion on the players and the process into account, and then make the best decision for the Lions.”
1.The Lions won’t be trading Matthew Stafford: This should have been obvious by now, but it was asked again during Quinn’s pre-draft press conference and Quinn made it clear he hasn’t thought about it and isn’t going to do it. He has said multiple times Stafford is Detroit’s quarterback.
2.Quinn believes in the draft’s depth on the lines: He previously said he felt the defensive-tackle depth in the draft was pretty strong and on Thursday indicated offensive line is pretty deep in this year’s draft as well. Quinn said he believes there is “quality depth” from the first round of the draft all the way to the seventh, so he has to be prepared for the middle rounds and “middle tiers” on some positions.
3.The potential of retiring early is tough to read: Quinn was asked about the trend of players retiring early -- something Detroit experienced this season with Calvin Johnson hanging it up after nine seasons. Quinn said that is “extremely difficult” to gauge -- one of the hardest things to do in his estimation. Part of it is because it has only been more of a factor in the past couple seasons.
So what Quinn tries to do is ask players how much they love football. Then, interestingly, he doesn’t necessarily focus on what the player is saying in response but rather their mannerisms along with it.
“When you interview guys you can look in their eyes and they truly love it, then that at least tells us that the guy wants to be here and have a career of it,” Quinn said. “Now, things change. You get into the National Football League, you have a couple concussions and like, things change. So, that’s a really difficult thing for us to evaluate.”
4.All of the draft work will happen beforehand: Quinn made it sound like he doesn’t expect too much debate on draft night itself. By then, he said, the board should be set and they should trust their prior research on the board and the plan already put in place. This was something he took from New England, so expect it to carry over to Detroit. He expects it to be “really quiet.” Quinn wouldn’t say how big or small his draft room will be, other than Jim Caldwell will be in the room next to him.
5.The Lions have fielded calls for trades: This shouldn’t be a surprise as most teams are going to be having these conversations over the next week, particularly as their own mock drafts start to play out in draft rooms across the NFL. Quinn said the franchise has 10 picks right now and could end up using all 10 of them. They could end up with more or less as well. That is all part of the draft weekend -- and Quinn is obviously excited about his first one as general manager.