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BOB QUINN TALKS 2018 LIONS DRAFT PICKS

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EXECUTIVE VP AND GM BOB QUINN TALKS 2018 LIONS DRAFT PICKS

Following day three of the 2018 NFL Draft, Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn was available to the local media. The following excerpts are from his media session.

Opening Statement: “So, came in today, fourth round came up and traded our third-round pick in the 2019 (Draft) to get up to take Da’Shawn Hand, defensive lineman from Alabama. Thought it was a really good value pick. Big, strong, guy, position versatility, can play inside, can play outside. Good scheme fit for us. Good knowledge of our defensive line coach, that helped. Knows our technique, met with him at the pro day. Matt (Patricia) and I went down there to the pro day and met with all those guys. Had a good meeting with Da’Shawn, so felt that was a really good pick for us there. And moving down to the next round, we took Tyrell Crosby, offensive lineman from Oregon. Another good value pick. He really stood out on the board, well above everybody else kind of at that point. So, it was a pretty easy pick when we talked about it. And then we followed it up in the seventh round with Nick Bawden, the fullback from San Diego State. So, productive day. The staff’s still working upstairs on rookie free agents. Got a couple, I would say, agreements. As you guys know, nothing official until they sign their contracts. But I’m sure you guys are doing Twitter searches as we speak.”

On what made T Tyrell Crosby stand out on the draft board: “Yeah, I meant that he was well ahead of everybody else on the board at that time. So, we had him graded a lot higher than where we probably took him. So, thought the value was just too good to pass up. Size, toughness, playing strength, played left tackle in college, has practiced at other spots. We see him as a guy that has multiple positions along our front. Had him in for a visit a couple weeks ago. It was a good day, so he brings a lot to the table.”

On if Crosby has the potential to play guard: “Yeah, possibly. I think he’s a tackle first and foremost. Once we get him in here, he’s never played guard. So, we’re going to have to see how it goes. But I think in terms of his size, his skillset, that he has a chance to kind of give us some depth at both spots. We’ll see how it goes when he gets here.”

On drafting a fullback in this year’s draft less than a year after removing the position from the team’s roster: “Just some of the conversations we’ve had in the offseason since Matt’s (Patricia) gotten here with some of the new staff members. Just something we kind of wanted to add to the mix to kind of give our offense a little bit more of, I’d say, a physical presence. Listen, it’s a seventh-round pick, so I mean, it is what it is. But he’s a guy that we liked. We wanted to add a fullback this offseason and he was a good value at that pick.”

On if FB Nick Bawden’s wrestling background is an example of a characteristic he looks at for certain players: “Yeah, certain positions. I mean, that is in his background. If you look at offensive and defensive linemen, if they do have a wrestling background it probably helps to some degree, but it doesn’t push them up or down the board. But it’s a good thing we look at.”

On DE Da’Shawn Hand’s position versatility: “I think once you guys see us line up in OTA’s, you’re going to see that you’re going to have to really pay close attention to where guys line up. We’re not going to have a base 3-4, a base 4-3. So, he’s a defensive lineman that can play really anywhere, from I’d say seven technique, all the way down to nose, depending on the different fronts we’re going to use. So, that was one of things we really liked about him.”

On what the ceiling is for Hand: “I think he has a great ceiling. He brings a rare combination of size, length, athleticism. He’s a really, thickly-built guy. Once you guys see him in person, he’s really thick, good body. The position versatility, the playing strength, the technique, all of those things that we look for really stood out. And yeah, he was a very high recruit coming out and he maybe didn’t live up to all those expectations, but that does not mean he’s not a good player.”

On being able to have Lions Defensive Line Coach Bo Davis help with Hand’s evaluation: “Yeah, those things help. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and say it doesn’t help. If you have a coach on the staff that has been in a room, on a practice field, in a same facility with a player for X amount of years, that helps the evaluation. Does that bring it up the board? No, the value is what the value is. But is there a comfort level taking a guy if you can go to an ex-position coach and say, ‘Hey, what makes this guy tick? How can we motivate this guy? Is he going to be a good worker in the building? Is he going to be in our culture? Is he going to be in our program?’ And if we get a ‘yes’ on all those questions, it’s a lot easier to take a guy.”

On how many concussions Crosby has suffered while playing: “I’m not going to comment exactly how many he had. I don’t actually know off the top of my head. But he came in, another guy that had the physical at the Combine, passed the physical at the Combine, came in here for a visit a few weeks ago, met our doctors and he’s cleared.”

On if there is something special about him drafting players out of the Southeastern Conference: “I know I’m in Big Ten country here. I’m going to tread lightly here. The SEC has a great brand of football. I think when you watch SEC football, it’s probably the closest thing in terms of scheme to the NFL. Listen, the level of competition, yeah, I think each conference and different years has different level of teams, the Big Ten being right up there as well. It’s just really the level of competition to see guys against better players on a consistent, day by day, week by week. If we go out to practice today at Alabama, or at LSU, or Tennessee, or Michigan, Michigan State, all those, these guys are practicing against good players every day. And on Saturdays they’re playing against good competition, so that just helps the evaluation process when you’re trying to project a guy to play at our level.”

On several of his picks being Senior Bowl products: “I knew that, but I didn’t realize that. Listen, the Senior Bowl’s a great event because it’s the best of the best of the senior class. I think the Senior Bowl, I’d say in the last four to five years has been greatly improved. I think Phil Savage, who runs the Senior Bowl, deserves a lot of credit for that because he does a great job of getting the type of players that the NFL teams want to see. He does a great job. He gets on the road himself and he scouts players to get the best guys there, so that’s part of the evaluation process. We can sit there and watch Da’Shawn Hand go one-on-one against a player on his team during practice. You guys know I go every year. That’s something I’ll never miss because those opportunities to see these guys live and then go back and watch the tape against the best competition in the country, it’s really invaluable in the evaluation process.”

On if it is coincidence that the two offensive linemen he drafted each did not give up a sack last season: “Little bit of a coincidence. You know, we look at all those stats, but the bottom line is how good of a player is he on tape? That’s a great bonus obviously, that they’re productive and you can quantify things, but I think they’re both highly-competitive guys. I think they’re big, strong and tough and they’re smart, so those are the kind of guys that we want to bring in here. That’s, you know, that’s how the board fell.”

On how much this draft helps him feel like he has solidified the run game: “Yeah, that’s, I mean, I’ve been talking about that since January. I think, like I said I think the other night, last night or the night before, we don’t play until September. So, I think we added some offensive linemen, we’ve added a running back in free agency, we’ve added a running back in the draft, so I think on paper should our run game be better? Yeah, probably. Now, it’s up to the players, the coaches and all of us to make sure we get out to the spring portion of our practices to implement the new guys into the system. Get to training camp and we’ll have a very physical training camp. We’ll see how everything comes together. So, I think the pieces are there, now it’s really up to, you know, all of us in the building to kind of make sure these guys produce at a high level.”

On emphasizing the run game instead of improving the pass rush: “I think it’s supply and demand. You know, you look at the board, I’d say, quite honestly, there was much, much more depth along the offensive line and at running back than there was at pass rush. The pass rushers came off pretty early and it was a huge drop off. So, it’s supply and demand every year.”

On if the players he drafted this year demonstrate an emphasis on changing the attitude and toughness of this team: “Yeah, it was. Something we looked at long and hard about guys finishing plays. I mean, you go through the highlights they show on (Frank) Ragnow and you can watch (Tyrell) Crosby play against good competition out west and you see how Kerryon (Johnson) carries the ball and finishes his runs, that was something we talked about in February when Matt (Patricia) and his staff came in about what we thought can make the team better. You know, you can really get specific into what you want, what you need for the team. But in my mind I’ve got to have a bigger, broader, like, ‘All right. What do we want the team to look like, OK?’ All right, we want a big, strong, tough, physical team in the trenches. So, that’s my job to kind of fill those roles in terms of the player side, and then it’s Matt and his coaches to kind of implement that style in terms of scheme. So, it was an emphasis and I think so far, so good. We’ve got to get these guys in here. These guys have not played an NFL snap yet, so they’ve got to come in, they have a lot to learn. We have high expectations for all of them, but once they get in here we’ll throw them into the system.”

On if he was able to focus on the run game even more in this draft than he originally thought he would be able to: “Yeah, looking back at it, maybe. You know, obviously we wanted to add an offensive lineman early in the draft and we did that. We wanted to add a running back, and I think the Crosby pick was just the value. Like honestly, if you asked me last night if I thought he was going to be there in the fifth round I probably would have said no chance. We talked about it this morning, I thought he was going to be probably one of the first five or 10 guys off the board in round four, so it was a long wait.”

On why Crosby fell so far in the draft: “I’m not sure. That’s probably a better question for the other teams. Sorry to kind of sidestep it, but like, we had him up there. So, I don’t know what all the other teams were saying about him, but I’d say my phone was dinging a lot after we took him saying, you know, nice things from my colleagues. That makes you feel good.”

On how much potential defensive line help is still out there in free agency: “Yeah, there’s a few vets that we’ve been talking to the last couple weeks, so I think we’ll revisit some of those conversations probably, you know, mid-week. We’ll kind of take tomorrow off, kind of regroup and get back in on Monday, look at the roster, kind of reset the needs a little bit. Just because the draft’s over doesn’t mean the needs are done, you know. Like I always say, there’s free agents out there, there’s street guys, we’re setting up tryouts for rookie mini-camp, so we’re always trying to churn the roster. There’s guys available.”

On how different this draft was for him having the chance to work with Head Coach Matt Patricia and if his draft board was smaller this year: “That’s a good question. We actually take that number every year on our front board and it was actually very close within five players of how many players were on it last year. So, the size of the board was the same. I’d say the draft mechanics were very similar. You know, Matt’s probably – He’s a little more lively, keeps it a little looser. So, we had some fun in there, which is good. But the whole draft process itself was the same. He’s used to what we do here because of where he came from, so he’s been through it the same way, so it was really smooth in terms of transition.”

On if there was any interest from other teams regarding current players on the roster: “There was not.”

On if the team has any joint practices lined up yet: “We are working on those. We have nothing confirmed yet. I think we’re working on, once we get everything like signed, sealed and delivered, we’ll have something to get to you guys, but just nothing yet. The process, so you guys know, I know this is like a big topic during league meetings and there was a rumor about a team, right? So, to give you guys a little behind-the-scenes here, so you kind of talk to teams in February and March and say, ‘Hey, we want to play in the preseason. Yeah, we’d love to play in the preseason. Want to come out for a day and practice? Yeah, that’d be great.’ Well, we can make all the plans we want. We submit our list to the league of who we want to play in the preseason, it’s really like a request list, and they fill them as they can. So, that’s why like, you know, you guys want to know in March – I don’t even know. So, some things happen that the league doesn’t help us out with the teams we want to play, and then you get your schedule and you’re like, ‘All right, well, I wanted to play the other team. But I’ve got to play this team, let’s call them.’ And these things take a couple weeks to put together. You’re talking about, you know, travel party – You can ask Kevin (Anderson), we travel with a 150 people, trying to get a hotel room and office space for four or five days is not real easy. So, it takes a little time to put together.”

On if he requested the Oakland preseason game: “Oh, no. Hey, always ask so you know the answer, right?”

On what teams he would like to have joint practices with: “We’re talking to a couple teams and once we can confirm something, at least one. We’re working on one. We’ll see if it happens with two. We’re not quite there yet. I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t even know.”

On how much he thought team toughness was lacking last season: “I think it was lacking. I think when you look at that team last year, you go back and you study what we did well, which I do every week, and then at the end of the year what we did poorly. I think really, this game comes down to a couple things. Like, NFL games come down to about five plays or less every week. And most of these plays are short-yardage, goal line, third down, red area, special teams. So, if you can get your team to perform better in those situational areas and you can win the majority of those four or five plays, then you’re going to have a better chance to win. So, I think when I look back at our team last year, all those critical situations, like it’s goal line, like we can’t run the ball like half a yard, that bothered me. So, I took it upon myself to implement some changes in terms of what we want to do, what we want to look at, what we want to look like as a team. And you know, when Matt (Patricia) came in, I said, ‘Listen, this is what I think we need to do,’ and he was on board. So, that’s kind of what our plan has been since February 5, whatever day that was.”

On if he looked at previous defensive players under Patricia with the Lions in mind: “That’s a great question and yes. I mean, you guys have watched us play. Our old defensive front was very much one gap and very much get-up-the-field, and I’d say very much less in terms of gap responsibility. So, we are much more, I’d say, conscious of technique, holding our gaps, playing sound fundamentals, rather than just getting up the field. We’re not really a two-gap team right now. I’d say we’re definitely a mix depending on what front we are in, what the situation is as a pass rush. Do we expect run? But last year we were primarily a one-gap, up-the-field team.”

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