(DETROIT, MI) – Detroit Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn is holding his draft cards close to his vest as the team prepares for the 2016 NFL which begins in Chicago on April 28. When asked what his priority would be in the draft, Quinn responded, “To pick the best players for the Lions.”
However, he did disclose that QB Matthew Stafford would be returning to the Lions line-up. Quinn says he has no plans to send Stafford elsewhere or to see what he can get in return.
“I haven’t thought about that, and I have no interest in trading Matthew,” Quinn told reporters. As well, back-up QB Dan Orlovsky re-signed with the Lions and enters his 11th NFL season. So, it looks like a high-round QB is not in the cards.
After adding defensive line players through free agency, such as Canadian DT Stefan Charles, DE Wallace Gilberry, and re-signing DT Haloti Ngata, Quinn is signalling that the draft has little in the way of quality players who will still be available when the Lions draft at the number 16 spot.
Oregon’s DE DeForest Buckner and DE Joey Bosa from Ohio State will likely be gone before Detroit exercises their first pick. After that is is a crap shoot in terms of skilled players expected to perform in the NFL. But Quinn is never saying never.
“You always consider the strength of the draft when you’re evaluating the free agent market,” Quinn said. “Just because we signed a few guys in free agency [that] would never preclude us from drafting a guy at that position in the draft.”
One player who will probably be passed on by Quinn is Mississippi DE Robert Nkemdiche. He is considered to have a chance to become good NFL starter, but off field intrigues have left Nkemdiche as a red flag player as far as Detroit is concerned.
”There will be a fair number of guys that we will not consider for character concerns and off-the-field reasons,” said Quinn. “But, I don’t have a firm number right now.” However, Quinn did say Nkemdiche is on that list.
With the retirement of WR Calvin Johnson, it’s an obvious hole that Quinn needs to fill. Through free-agency signings, wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Marvin Jones, and tight-ends Tim Wright and Matthew Mulligan are now augmenting Golden Tate on the Lions roster. There is room for help at those positions, but the draft is again light on talent.
In fact, there is little to speak of in this year’s draft class. There are 11 top-ranked college players, beyond which the jury is out on the projected ability at the pro level. Quinn may have tipped his hand in this regard.
“It’s always good to have cap space. I mean, I think there’s things that we want to do in the future that we need to reserve funds for and things during the season that come up that we may need money to sign a player here or there,” he said. “I never want to be in the position where I don’t have resources to go out and sign a player to improve our team.”
It looks like Quinn will be keeping his eye on the waiver wire and trade situation by the time the draft is done.