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Bob Quinn: Drafting T.J. Hockenson was an ‘easy decision’

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Even if Josh Allen was on the board?

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As with any draft pick, there’s going to be a debate as to whether Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn made the right choice with first-round selection T.J. Hockenson. While the pick received an A or B grade by 71 percent of fans, many criticized the pick, arguing that the value wasn’t there or a better prospect should have been the choice.

But for Quinn, there wasn’t much of a debate. The Lions general manager joined 97.1 radio show “Jamie and Stoney” on Tuesday morning and said the pick was easy.

“At the end of the day, it was a very easy decision when we were on the clock,” Quinn said. “He’s someone that we fully vetted, and really put a lot of time and effort into making sure he’s a good fit for us on the field as well as off the field, and really for us, it was a very easy decision.”

There isn’t much debate about Hockenson the player. He’s a does-everything tight end with no red flag concerns about his character and no significant injury history.

However, the debate about value is one worth considering. We talked about it last week, regarding both the financial and on-field value of a tight end and whether that’s worth such high draft capital. Quinn thinks there’s value in just about every position in the top 10, given the player and fit is right.

“I think there’s value in any position you look at across the league if you use the guys correctly and they’re good players, which we obviously think T.J. is,” Quinn said.

The other concern were the player available. A lot of fans and analysts thought the Lions may take Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver with the choice or Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. Obviously, if the pick was “easy” for Quinn, those players were never really in consideration when Detroit was on the clock.

However, the Lions almost had what many perceived to be a dream scenario. Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen nearly fell to the Lions, but the Jacksonville Jaguars swooped him up just before the Lions went on the clock. Had Allen still been on the board, would that have made the decision any harder?

“It probably would have been a little bit more of a talking point,” Quinn admitted.

Ultimately, though, Quinn seems very confident in this pick. After failing to put together a tight end crew worth fielding in 2018, it was clear improving that room was a big priority for him and the team.

“I think the draft recap is who we took and we’re really excited about T.J. having him on the team, putting him in there with the other guys in the room—especially with signing Jesse James in free agency. I think it went from a position of weakness last year to a position of strength.”