The jury on the Detroit Lions’ 2018 draft class won’t be out for some time. We won’t know if their selections were good choices probably for another three years now.
But if there’s one thing that has become apparent through three rounds of the draft, it’s that Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has frustrated the hell out of other NFL general managers. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, for Detroit’s first three picks in the draft, Quinn selected a player that other teams were just about to pick:
Lions keep picking players before other teams can. Detroit drafted Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson at No. 43 with Washington preparing to take him at No. 44. Then Detroit drafted UL Laf CB Tracy Walker at No. 82 before Carolina could get him at No. 85. Always stories behind each pick.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 28, 2018
We already knew that Detroit’s first-round pick of Frank Ragnow was stolen from the hands of several teams. The Patriots, Bengals and Vikings all wanted a piece of Ragnow in the first round.
However, it’s news that the Lions were able to grab Kerryon Johnson and Tracy Walker before they were going to be picked. It’s not all that surprising that Washington was going to take Johnson, as they immediately traded down once Johnson was off the board and ended up taking a different running back later in the round (Derrius Guice).
It probably comes as a surprise, though, that the Panthers were about to draft Tracy Walker, who many claimed was a huge reach by Detroit in the third round. As we mentioned in our “5 things to know about Tracy Walker” article, the Panthers were one of a few teams to take an extra look at Walker in the pre-draft process. They even went as far to send their general manager to Louisiana-Lafayette’s Pro Day, and they also spent a Top 30 visit on him.
Even the Lions’ aggressive move to get back into Round 4 to get Da’Shawn Hand may have been a move to get ahead of the Chicago Bears, who had the next pick in the draft:
Gut feeling says the Lions moved up in front of the #Bears to take Hand. Oh well, onto round 5.— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) April 28, 2018
Quinn mentioned last week that predicting other teams’ preferences in the draft was a huge part of their draft day strategy. “I’ll turn around and ask those guys, ‘OK, this guy, who has he visited with? What teams are interested in him?” Quinn explained. “OK, they already picked this round. They don’t have a pick next round.’ It’s in-exact science, but those are the kind of questions that I ask continuously during the weekend.”
So far that strategy has paid off, and it appears the Lions have drafted their preferred players just before they were about to come off the board. We’ll have to wait and see, though, if those were the right players to be interested in.