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Ranking Bob Quinn’s draft picks, Part 4: 10-6

We break into Bob Quinn’s top-10 draft picks.

Dallas Cowboys v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

We have finally gotten to the good part of this list.

After parsing through the worst of Bob Quinn’s draft decisions since he took over as Detroit Lions general manager in 2016 over the past week, today we enter the top 10 and look at some of the best decisions Quinn has made since taking his post.

This list judges each pick on not only the players raw talent, but the value that the team received from each pick as well.


10. Anthony Zettel

2016 sixth-round pick, 202nd overall — Penn State — Defensive End

Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Like many other sixth-round picks on this list, not much was expected of Anthony Zettel when the team selected him in the 2016 draft. Zettel was rotational player who played a lot on special teams in his rookie year, but 2017 is when he really came into his own.

Zettel played across Ezekiel Ansah as the team’s starting defensive end. He racked up 6.5 sacks in 2017 and was the best edge rusher on the team at some points, as Ansah disappeared for long strings of games.

The Lions decided to renovate their edge rushing stable in 2018, bringing in Devon Kennard as their top free agent signing that year. Zettel was released as the team chose to move on. Still, though, getting a starting edge rusher who even outplayed your former top-10 pick at some points in the sixth round is incredible value.

The edge rusher has since played for the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. He currently is with the Minnesota Vikings and may line up in opposition to the Lions twice this year.

Games played: 29 for Lions (49 in NFL)
Currently: With Vikings, will compete for roster spot in 2020

9. Jahlani Tavai

2019 second-round pick, 43rd overall — Hawaii — Linebacker

Dallas Cowboys v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Jahlani Tavai was another controversial pick made by Quinn, but this may be the best of the lot. The linebacker was a relatively unknown prospect out of Hawaii heading into the 2019 draft, and his selection raised some questions. Tavai is a fairly unathletic linebacker who played for a bottom-tier FBS defense. The team also passed up on some more popular names like Greedy Williams to select him.

The linebacker was great in his rookie season and arguably the best player amongst Detroit’s linebacking corps last year. He proved to be a great run stuffer and looked like he quickly acclimated himself to NFL speed and intensity. While he did not provide much in coverage, he is already miles ahead of fellow young linebacker Jarrad Davis.

Tavai notched 58 combined tackles and two sacks in his rookie year. He will likely play an expanded role in 2020, so those numbers may only increase from here.

Games played: 15 for Lions (15 in NFL)
Currently: With Lions, lock to start in 2020

8. Jamal Agnew

2017 fifth-round pick, 165th overall — San Diego — Cornerback

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Jamal Agnew doing anything in the NFL felt like a long shot. The speedy corner was really too small too be effective on defense, but his athleticism made him an interesting gadget player.

The corner took over as the team’s primary return man in his rookie year and was immediately a star. Agew was the best punt returner in the league in 2017. He led the league in overall return yards, yards per return and had the longest return of the season. Agnew also took two returns for touchdowns, a tough feat that also led the league.

Agnew was named a first-team All Pro in his rookie year. He has maintained his role as the team’s primary return man since, and even took a punt and kick off for touchdowns in 2019.

Unfortunately, Agew has not made an impact at all as a corner. The team will be moving him to wide receiver this offseason, hoping to use him as a gadget similar to the way players like Tavon Austin and Ryan Switzer have been used. The position change also may signal that his roster spot is not as safe as once believed.

Games played: 32 for Lions (32 in NFL)
Currently: With Lions, will compete for roster spot in 2020

7. Taylor Decker

2016 first-round pick, 16th overall — Ohio State — Tackle

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vDetroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions had a mid-first round pick in 2016 and they knocked it out of the park. They selected Taylor Decker out of Ohio State, and he proved to be a formidable barrier at left tackle for the years to come.

Decker was the only worthwhile piece of the team’s disastrous 2016 offensive line. He missed eight games in 2017 due to injury and saw a step back in play as he was hindered all season. He has since only missed one game over the past two years, though he has not entirely been healthy during this time.

The tackle has been among the best offensive lineman on the team over the past four years. 2020 will be a contract year for him, but do not be surprised if Detroit chooses to give him a extension sometime soon. Reliable NFL tackles are few and far between, and Quinn landed one in 2016.

Games played: 55 for Lions (55 in NFL)
Currently: With Lions, lock to start in 2020

6. Tracy Walker

2018 third-round pick, 82nd overall — Louisiana Lafayette — Safety

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Quinn has a knack for finding mid-major prospects in the third round (another notable one will be featured a little later on the list). In 2018, he went down to the bayou to add a safety, selecting Tracy Walker out of Louisiana Lafayette in the third round.

Walker was an exciting, high-upside prospect. He has incredible athleticism and length. At his best, he could be a rangy deep safety with the ability to play the ball well. He was raw coming out of college, but Detroit was willing to take a chance on his upside.

Through two years, it is clear that Walker has a future as a starting safety in this league. While he has been inconsistent over his two-year career, he has shown flashes of the greatness. He is a top candidate to have a breakout year and make the jump from regular player to NFL star in 2020.

Games played: 29 for Lions (29 in NFL)
Currently: With Lions, lock to start in 2020

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