A lot is riding on these late-season games for the Detroit Lions, and all of it is for far-too-familiar reasons: draft status.
Once again the Lions are playing unimportant games in December. Something more in line with the 2000s rather than the 2010s where the team saw a marked improvement in team performance. A big reason for that uptick in success was former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and his ability to hit on top draft picks—for the most part.
Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah: all of these players nabbed within the first five picks of the NFL Draft and all of them integral to the resurgence of professional football during the 2010s.
This upcoming draft, Bob Quinn will have his first opportunity to make the most of one of these top picks. The team is likely drafting somewhere between two and five in April’s 2020 NFL Draft (pending a trade up or down) and there are quite a few interesting prospects for the Lions to consider when their number is called.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Quinn’s best and worst draft classes so far during his tenure in Detroit, which might also glean some insight into what position he’ll put a premium on come April.
So today’s Question of the Day is...
What has been Bob Quinn’s best and worst draft class?
Let’s get the tough stuff out of the way first and then end on a positive note.
It’s difficult to write the book on Quinn’s 2019 draft class after just one season, and one season in which the franchise’s quarterback ended up on injured reserve, but things aren’t looking great for that crop of players. T.J. Hockenson’s play was a mixed bag before he ended up on IR, Amani Oruwariye only recently started to get playing time after dealing with injuries at the beginning of the year, while second-round pick Jahlani Tavai was perhaps the team’s best addition—but he looked a lot like the rookie he was before he too ended up on IR.
2017—with the exception of Kenny Golladay—was Bob Quinn’s worst draft class if we’re deeming it too early to bang the gavel on 2019. Jarrad Davis is an incredible athlete, but seems to be either a poor fit in Matt Patricia’s scheme or limited in his ability to play the middle of the field—or both. Teez Tabor never saw meaningful playing time after the Lions took him in the second round. Michael Roberts, the Lions fourth-round pick and apparent red zone weapon, was drafted ahead of George Kittle. Both Roberts and Tabor aren’t even on a 53-man roster less than three years into their NFL careers.
As for his best class, look no further than the 2016 class, his first draft as Lions general manager. Quinn was able to get a solid left tackle in Taylor Decker, a productive defensive lineman in A’Shawn Robinson, and another valuable offensive lineman in Graham Glasgow all in his first three picks. His 2018 class could make a strong case considering Frank Ragnow is probably Quinn’s best draft pick thus far, but injuries have limited the likes of Kerryon Johnson and Da’Shawn Hand.