As we watched the 2020 NFL Draft, we all developed our own immediate thoughts about the picks.
“What were they thinking?!?”
“Where does this guy even fit on the team?”
“Why didn’t they select [insert your favorite guy here]?”
We spend hours and hours debating, complaining and even sometimes praising the picks our team made.
But at the end of every night, general managers come out and explain their actions. With no need for secrecy anymore, they’re very open and honest about their assessment of the players and why they made certain selections.
So instead of continuing to debate why the Detroit Lions made certain selections, why not hear from the man himself? Lions general manager Bob Quinn had a lot to say about all nine of his team’s selections, so I pulled the most interesting and relevant quotes from the past three nights on each of his draft picks. And while head coach Matt Patricia didn’t speak every night, I will throw some quotes in there on picks he did chime in on .
Round 1 - CB Jeff Okudah
“One thing that was really easy for us to see, Jeff Hafley was his coach last year, the way that he coaches corners, very similar to the style that we play, really trusts the techniques that he teaches and coaches with”
“He’s very aggressive at the line of scrimmage. He’ll play with his hands. He’ll stay square. He’s patient. There’s not a lot of panic down field on some of the shots, really good in transition, has good makeup speed”
“It’s not often that you meet someone, and you spend 15- to 18-minute interview at the Combine when you’re rolling through players, and that player says something that just sticks so hard to you as a person that explains who he is as a person. It’s something that makes you go back, and you talk to your wife about it and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is an amazing young guy.’”
“Really felt fortunate to take him, really a very, very well-rounded corner with very good length, good speed, very good coverage ability, great tackler, really complete corner in our eyes, in our opinion. Corners come in all shapes and sizes, and he kind of fits the mold of a top-flight corner that can cover big guys, he can cover small guys, he can support the run. He plays the ball well, very well, in the air. He’s instinctive. He’s very much a student of the game.”
Round 2 - RB D’Andre Swift
“Felt really good about that pick, obviously (a) playmaker, explosive, three-down value, really, really good football player. Played at a high level – know their coaches down there, know the conference that he plays in.”
In D’Andre’s case, he sat behind a first-round pick in Sony (Michel) and a high second-round pick in (Nick) Chubb from a couple years ago. So you go back and watch him early, he kind of was the complement back. He went in there and made plays a couple years ago, and then really last year played more. I think every step along the way he’s improved. So hopefully he can take another step when he gets here.”
“I think we always need multiple backs. It’s a position where guys get hit. They take a pounding. So, we’ve just got to make sure we have good depth and guys that can go out there and make plays for us.”
D’Andre’s not going to carry the ball 35 times a game, we know that. We’re going to use our backs, we’re going to use all of them. That’s why we drafted D’Andre, he’s going to be part of that package.
Round 3 - EDGE Julian Okwara
Outside linebacker, pass rusher, highly athletic kid, long, violent, had an injury this year that he recovered from. So we feel great with that recovery, and really expect him to do great things with his brother.
“He’s got a tremendous skillset, so let’s talk about his skillset first. That’s why we picked him, and he just happens to be Romeo’s brother. So, that’s an added bonus for us.”
Round 3 - G Jonah Jackson
“Guard transfer from Rutgers, really tough guy, strong, athletic, smart, nasty. I mean, any O-line trait that you put in the scouting manual, this guy has it. Really a guy that we targeted dating back before the Senior Bowl. We were very lucky. I was not lucky to be in the Senior Bowl – let me rephrase that. We were lucky to have Jonah on our team and get to know him a little bit better, so the comfort level was great.”
“Jonah was a graduate transfer that played at Rutgers at a very high level and then wanted to go play against the best. That kind of told me something. We talked to this kid, ‘Why did you want to play another year?’ He could have come out last year. He wanted to play against the best competition. So, that says something. He went there and fit in immediately.
Round 4 - G Logan Stenberg
“It wasn’t a need-based picked, it was just kind of, ‘Hey, this is the best guy on the board.’ Had a good grade on him, felt comfortable with the person and went after him and moved back and was able to get him and picked up another pick.”
“Logan is a nasty guy. They ran the ball a ton at Kentucky, so he’s a little bit probably a better run blocker right now than pass protection. But this guy is 6-foot-6, 320 (pounds), long arms, nasty demeanor. So, it wasn’t a difficult evaluation. It’s just in college football you see these guys pass protect all the time because it’s always drop back, it’s three-wide, it’s four-wide. So, when you put on the Kentucky film, it’s like, ‘Wow, they’re actually running the ball downhill.’ So, it’s fun to watch because you don’t really see it a lot in college football. So, some of the run stuff is actually a direct correlation to what we do and some of the pass stuff you’ll have to work on, but we felt really good about the player.”
Round 5 - WR Quintez Cephus
“Really strong player, very physical, great catch radius, strong hands. (Offensive Coordinator Darrell) Bevell has a strong relationship up in Wisconsin obviously – one of his former teammates is one of the coaches up there, so really got a great recommendation on that player there in the fifth. Obviously the receiver thing was something we were looking for a little bit here and there.”
He had a disappointing Combine workout slightly. But then he went, he had one of the last pro days before it got shut down, and he improved dramatically with his 40-(yard dash time). I would say that equates to how he plays on the field. Really strong guy, big catch radius like I said, really, really good hands, physical player.
On Cephus’ legal matter:
“We did our normal research that we do on all players, no problems there. We looked into that legal matter, did our research and felt good with it. And like I said, Coach (Darrell) Bevell has great relationships up there (at Wisconsin), talked to the football people and people on campus at Wisconsin, and that thing was in his past. They speak glowingly of this player and person.”
Round 5 - RB Jason Huntley
“This is a speed player, this is a space running back, little bit undersized but extremely fast and athletic and competitive. When you guys see this guy play – he’s probably 195 pounds, but when you watch him, he plays a lot bigger than that. He’s very physical, he’s not avoiding contact. He’s a dynamic special teams returner as well.”
“Huntley will be our smallest guy, but he’s extremely fast. So (I’m) very confident that we’ll find a role for him, and he is going to be in competition with Ty Johnson”
First and foremost, he is a running back. But yes, he’s a guy who can do multiple things. He’s not Bo Scarbrough, right? He’s not that kind of running back. He’s a guy that you get him in space - J.D. McKissic’s a good example.
Round 6 - DT John Penisini
“He was kind of a clog in the middle of the defense that did all the dirty work. Really good scheme-fit for us, strong player, physical, plays low to the ground, uses his hands extremely well, great culture fit, great person, hard worker. That was a really easy pick for us.”
Round 7 - DL Jashon Cornell
Where Penisini is more of a run player, Cornell is a defensive lineman that’s more of a pass rusher. He can play defensive end, he can rush from the inside at three-technique in passing situations. He was another guy in a very good defense. You can probably count off the number of guys from Ohio State that got drafted. This guy – when you watch all that film, he keeps showing up on film, making plays – especially as a pass rusher.
He was on our radar, but he was graded a little lower, I’d say in September and his grades progressively got higher through October, November and December. And then the more you watched Ohio State, the more you see this guy show up later in the season as a rusher.