Quinn: Lions Improved In Three Key Areas In Draft

What did you make of the Lions draft?

April 27, 2019 - 9:26 pm

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (97.1 The Ticket) -- Having taken a mixed bag of offensive and defensive players, focusing on speed, size and versatility over the course of the three-day NFL Draft, Lions GM Bob Quinn says the team got better.

Specifically, Quinn believes his fourth draft at the helm of the franchise helped the team improve in three key areas:

"Team speed, athleticism, competitiveness. Those are probably three things that jump out," Quinn said at the team's facility in Allen Park.

When it comes to competitiveness, look no further than fourth-round selection Austin Bryant. The defensive end out of Clemson played through intense pain and a torn pectoral muscle through the end of the season en route to the team's second national championship in three years.

Quinn said he's unsure whether the injury factored into Bryant's slide to the fourth round, but he was "pleasantly surprised" he was available at No. 117. Quinn spent a lot of time evaluating Clemson's defensive line, which had four players drafted this week. Quinn said Bryant was "at or near the top of the list"

"I think when you go back and watch him against the best competition they’ve played the last couple of years, he’s really kind of stepped up his game, and I think he really showed a lot of toughness playing through the injury," Quinn said. "I think he injured it in November and played through a couple games and had a little break before the Playoff started, and he played the last two games. Showed a lot of toughness there."

Quinn said there wasn't necessarily one single trait he thought the team was lacking entering this draft, but did say the team is trying to build around versatility, length and size. The addition of former Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai certainly adds some versatility.

"You add a guy like Jahlani to the mix that can – you see him on the film play on the edge, you see him set the edge, you see him rush the passer and then two snaps later, he’s playing MIKE bubble linebacker coming downhill and smashing a guard," Quinn said Friday night. "There’s guys that can do that. A lot of guys in the Draft, I would say, every year there’s a very select few guys that you can actually see them do it on film. You’re projecting, ‘Well, this guy plays on the edge, but we project he can play at MIKE and play downhill.’ This guy actually has visual evidence that you see him do that on, really, a game-by-game basis."