So far, Bob Quinn has only drafted 19 players for the Detroit Lions, and most of his late round picks have already made an impact this season.
For the first time in a long time, the Detroit Lions might actually have a decent general manager that knows how to draft running their team. Long gone are the days of Matt Millen running this franchise into the ground and Martin Mayhew screwing up every other draft pick. Bob Quinn has a plan, and so far its been executed well.
Quinn has done a masterful job in his young tenure of not only picking well in the early rounds, but also doing a great job on his late round draft picks. The difference between good general managers and great general managers is the ability to draft guys in the later rounds to round out your team and take the next step towards being elite.
That’s why franchises like the Patriots have been so good for so long: they continue to stockpile great players to increase their depth throughout the roster, which translates into steady continued success. Being a former Patriots executive, Quinn knows how to properly draft a complete 53-man roster.
Roster-wise, this Lions team might be one of the deepest ones, partially thanks to Quinn’s 2016 and 2017 draft classes. He’s drafted nearly every position on the field in these drafts, and most of his late round picks are already making an impact on this young season.
The 2016 class has been known for its dominant linemen drafted in it. Taylor Decker had a phenomenal rookie season, and 3rd round pick Graham Glasgow has proved to be a capable starter on the left side of the line. Alabama stud A’Shawn Robinson has been a great run stuffer, and already has been in on 8 tackles and forced fumble in this young season.
Those are all guys that were picked in the top half of the draft, and the great players certainly don’t stop there. Safety Miles Killebrew has done a great job in his young career, and he got the
start on Sunday in the wake of safety Tavon Wilson‘s injury. He’s done well in coverage, and his interception and touchdown return in the 4th quarter sealed the win Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jake Rudock has shown to be a quality backup quarterback in his preseason, which I have already covered on this site. Defensive end Anthony Zettel has stepped in beautifully after Kerry Hyder‘s injury, already getting 2.0 sacks and more pressures than he got all of last year, in just three games.
Both of these guys were 6th round picks, and Killebrew was a 4th round pick. These are the kind of picks that need to keep happening for the Lions to establish a culture similar to New England’s and complete the roster.
The 2017 draft class has arguably been even better this season. Jarrad Davis showed the potential to be a great leader of the defense, amassing 15 tackles and 1 sack before leaving the game against the New York Giants with a concussion.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay was drafted in the 3rd round and already has more than 100 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, making many key catches for the team. And 6th round pick Jamal Agnew has been great on special teams. His punt return touchdown against the New York Giants earned him the award for NFC special teams player of the week in week 2.
The 2017 class has proven to be very effective while also being deep. 4th round linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and 6th round defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter have made solid contributions when on the field, proving they are possible of playing well when called upon, keeping the roster deep and quality.
The quality play from these young players have been part of the reason the Lions have started so strong. They won their first two games handily, and lost in controversial fashion to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Even though the Lions lost, the young guys made some key plays to keep the game close, and Detroit proved that they can hang around and play really well against elite teams, as the Falcons are the reigning NFC champion.
Bob Quinn’s ability as a drafter has proven to be really good, and he has picked players that are already making contributions on this team. These contributions so far have made an significant impact in this season, and it is only September.
Giving these players more time to develop and practice can only strengthen their play, and hopefully they can continue to play well and help this team get back to the playoffs.