ALLEN PARK, MI – (CBS DETROIT)
Here are some quotes from Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn about the upcoming NFL Draft, courtesy of Detroit Lions Communications.
On his confidence that the player selected with the third overall pick will be impactful, and given the circumstances, how will he obtain the same level of success in drafting key players beyond the first round: “With the No. 3 pick, or wherever we end up picking, the idea is to get an impactful player. I think if there’s a number of players up in that top of the Draft that we feel good about, we’ll see what happens next Thursday, but I feel like that’s the goal. We have enough guidance in that range that we think we can do that. In the second part of your question, I would say we went through our normal process, it was just a little bit different. Our goal is to get impactful players throughout the Draft, whether they’re starters in the middle rounds or just backup and role players and special teams players later in the Draft. Our goals haven’t changed, the circumstances have obviously. We can’t use that as an excuse. We have to go out there and do the best of our ability to draft, grade the players, evaluate the players and then put them in the correct place on the Draft board, so next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when it’s our time to pick, we feel comfortable with the selection.”
On the logistics of the Draft this year and how he is designating his personnel to manage trade discussions and other draft needs: “I’ll take that in maybe kind of two parts. I’m not going to give you a picture of my setup here because I really don’t have that capability right now. But basically, I’m at my house, I have a home office that I use occasionally during the season and occasionally during the offseason – not very much – but I’m staring at a T.V. to my right. I have three monitors to my left, I have two laptops. I have a huge, what we would call our ‘draft phone,’ I have my home phone. I have two cell phones, and I have a printer. So that’s kind of my setup that I’m looking at right now. We can’t obviously replicate our draft board in my office here, so all the draft boards, needs boards, all of those things will be emailed, printed, they’ll probably be screen-shared on some platform that we’re still evaluating on which one we want to use next week – but we have two good options that we narrowed it down to. Then we’ll have redundancies on everything. We’ll have at my house and Coach Patricia’s house, redundancies for internet, redundancies for power, redundancies for phones, so I would say our I.T. department, like I mentioned a few minutes ago, they’ve done an outstanding job of setting us up. I feel really good about the setup; I feel confident that it’s going to work. Everything that we’ve done in the last four weeks, and I think I’ve been home in this home office for – I think yesterday was a month – everything has worked well. Obviously within the last week or so, I’ve gotten more stuff delivered to my house for technology, just for the Draft itself, and some of that stuff is being tested over the next couple days with the League – in terms of the camera that’s going to be here and all those things. I think big-picture-wise, we’re in a good spot technology-wise. We’re going to do a couple internal tests and trial runs here. The League is having a mock draft, mock trial run on Monday that we’ll participate in.”
On his communication plan with his personnel during the Draft: “We’re working through that. We’re going to have one Zoom or Teams or whatever we decide to do here with the smaller group. It’s going to be eight or 10 of us in that virtual draft room, then they’re going to have a secondary call with everybody else that would be in the room – from the scouting guys that live in different parts of the country that are obviously in our draft room for a normal draft, but the people that are at the main two tables in our normal draft room will be on a separate call. It’s about eight to 10 people. So there will probably be two virtual calls going on at once. That’s kind of how we have it planned out.”
On how many substantive trade conversations has he had for the No. 3 pick up to this point and a timeline for those talks: “We have conversations, myself and my staff, we’re doing our normal draft calls like we do every year – which we’ll call every team in the League, kind of see what they’re thinking. I’ll handle the calls that are a little bit closer to our pick, especially this year’s since we’re drafting at three. I’ve had a few of those conversations over that last week or so, had a few of those conversations honestly as far back as the Combine. There will be more substantive talks next week if people are interested. I think just the way the world we’re living in, with this being virtual, I think a lot of those things, if I’m going to do something, I think we’re going to have a pretty good idea Thursday afternoon of where we stand. I don’t think I’m going to be making a huge decision on trading the No. 3 overall pick while I’m on the clock, while I’m virtually talking to our head coach and our other personnel.”
On if he currently has offers for the No. 3 pick: “I never go in to conversations I have with other teams. You know that. I never talk about a conversation I have with another team, sorry.”
On if any members of the Lions organization have tested positive for COVID-19: “No, not that I’m aware of.”
On what went into the trade of CB Darius Slay and how big of a need remains at cornerback: “With the Slay thing, obviously that was something we had talked about since the offseason began. A couple of teams were interested in him, (we) had conversations at the Combine, had more conversations in the beginning part of free agency and (we) just thought it was the best thing for the team with just the parameters of what was going on with his contract and some of the things about the future and what the needs were from his end of things and we thought the best thing to do was to move that, get the draft compensation and go out in free agency. Obviously, we added a couple of corners and that’s something that we felt was the best thing for the team at that time. I had a really good conversation with Darius a couple of weeks ago when we ended up doing the trade. It was good on the end from my standpoint. Those are always tough decisions. He’s a good football player, we all know that. Sometimes you just have to make the decision you think is best for us.”
On if there’s added pressure this season based on the Ford’s mandate to win now, and if that becomes more challenging this offseason: “I answer this question the same way – I think you guys know what’s coming. I feel pressure every day I wake up and do my job. What was said was said, and listen, I’ve had really, really good conversations all the time with the Ford family and we really have a good working relationship. They want to win, and that’s our goal, too. The pressure’s the same for me. It always has been from Day 1 to right now. I feel that this year, with the circumstances we’re in, it’s just different. But every team is playing under the same playing rules right now with the virtual draft and the virtual draft preparations. Like I said, we’re ready, we’re excited about it and we’re ready to get going on Thursday.”
On what he thinks of former players coming out against Head Coach Matt Patricia and if it’s problematic: “I’d say no. I haven’t talked about it a ton, but you can go ask anybody in the locker room right now what they think of Coach and how he runs the team, and they’re 100% behind him. You can’t make everybody happy in this business in terms of how you do certain things, but I can just say from the guys that we’ve signed in free agency, the guys that wanted to be here – a number of guys in our free agent class reached out to us. We obviously liked them as players, but in the weeks leading up to free agency, those guys had their agent call me and say, ‘Hey, my guy wants to be there and play for Coach.’ So, you just have conversations with guys like Duron Harmon, who we traded for. I mean, I’ve never seen a player more excited to be traded – and we’ve done a lot of trades since I’ve been here – than Duron Harmon. I mean, he was like literally jumping out of my FaceTime wanting to come out here immediately. I have no concerns with that at all.”
On weighing the value of the type of compensation he can receive for the third overall pick versus drafting a player in that spot: “It’s something we’re consistently talking about. What kind of player are you going to get at seven, eight, nine, 10, five? Like, it’s all those conversations and you kind of have the list of the players you like, right? And then you work backwards. So, if you like six guys and you feel like you can move back and they’re all similarly graded, then you try to do that. If there is a great variance in those six players, and you only feel really good about three or four of them, then you can’t go back as far. So, it’s a constant conversation. It’s a good question. It’s something that we’ve been having, I’d say two weeks. We’ll talk more about it over the weekend and into next week about those opportunities. But like I said at the beginning, you can’t just say, ‘Hey, I’m going to trade. You need a trade partner. So, you need somebody that wants to come up, and those conversations are happening, and we’ll see where they’ll turn out next week.”
On how comfortable he is with the health of QB Matthew Stafford heading into this draft: “Yeah, Matthew is doing great. He’s probably like me, he’s home with children and he calls me probably once a week to check in. I know he’s working out. I know he’s feeling good, so health wise he’s good to go. As I said at the end of the season, if we were starting our offseason program next week, he’d be there as a full participant. He’s cleared medically from that standpoint.”
On how much he has enjoyed using his best poker face when discussing the third overall pick: “Well, that’s kind of part of the game. Obviously, what we try to do – it’s really, I have a great deal of respect for all of the other GM’s. I’m really, personally, friends with a large number of them. A lot of them I have worked with over the years at a very intimate level. You do that. You have to make those calls. They understand what we’re doing, and I understand where they’re coming from. So, you can’t tell them obviously who you’re drafting and who you like. But you’ve got to be truthful and just tell them, ‘Hey, this is what it would take if you guys want to come get this pick.’ And you have that conversation, it’s not a five-minute phone call. It’s a lot of back and forth. It’s like, ‘All right, let me call you back next week. Let me call you back Thursday and we’ll talk more.’ So, this is ever evolving when you try to trade a pick, if we can trade a pick because as of right now, we’re six days out. So, there’s nothing set in stone.”
On if he is confident that the season will start on time and if there has been any dialogue with the NFL regarding contingency plans if the season is delayed: “I personally, and as an organization, we haven’t had a lot of dialogue with the League about the season or anything like that. The latest dialogue that we’ve really been concentrating on is like, how this draft is going to work, number one and how the start of the virtual offseason program is going to work. So, we’ve had no communication about the season whatsoever.”
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