Many look at the Detroit Lions’ situation for the 2018 NFL Draft and see a team that needs to add a few starters at very specific positions—running back, defensive line and offensive guard, to name a few.
But Lions general manager Bob Quinn sung quite a different tune during Monday night’s season ticket fan summit, in which he, head coach Matt Patricia and president Rod Wood answered pre-screened questions from fans.
“So I’d say best player available is what we’re looking at,” Quinn said per Lions Lowdown’s Paula Pasche. “I don’t think we have to reach for anybody or are dying to have one position or another.”
The Lions did add at least one player at all of their major positions of need in free agency: LeGarrette Blount at running back, Kenny Wiggins at offensive guard, Sylvester Williams at defensive tackle, and (arguably) Devon Kennard on the edge. However, questions remain about all of these players being able to either carry on a full-time role or be a long-term solution beyond 2019. Wiggins and Kennard signed multi-year deals, but Blount and Williams are currently only inked through the 2018 season.
Quinn ceded that, like anyone, the Lions still have needs, but he sure made it sound like they aren’t going to reach in order to fill them on draft day. ”Do we have wants and do we have needs? Absolutely,” Quinn said. “I don’t think it’s a desperation situation to we’re going to have to move up in the draft to get a certain guy or a certain player.”
So that pretty much rules out any chance of the Lions moving up in the first round, which I’m sure will be met with a sigh of relief by many. A few weeks ago at the owners meetings, Quinn said the team would love to acquire more picks from a trade down, saying he’s “absolutely” open to the idea.
And while the Lions may not have a specific position they are thinking about drafting, they’re nearly finished with their draft board and are keying in on “five or six” players for the No. 20 pick, according to Quinn.
“I can probably narrow it down to five or six guys right now,” Quinn told fans on Monday. “Now, all that can change tomorrow, but as we’re sitting here now, I could probably rattle off a few, which I won’t.”
Of course, we’re only a few weeks away from the NFL Draft, and anything that comes out of a general manager’s mouth at this point should be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe the Lions are truly going full “best player available” for the draft. Maybe they have a player’s name circled on their draft board with a bunch of hearts circled around it. We’ll find out on April 26.