ALLEN PARK >> Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn said it was a good opening night of the NFL draft. The Lions selected offensive lineman Frank Ragnow with the 20th overall pick.
“At that point in time it was a real easy pick. He was a guy we had our eyes on for a while and it worked out that way,’’ Quinn said in a post-draft press conference late Thursday night.
Ragnow was a three-year starter at Arkansas, playing center and guard. He met with the Lions at the NFL Draft Combine but hadn’t heard from them since.
“He’s coming back from injury that he missed the second half of the season with an ankle and other than the injury he was a real clean prospect that I didn’t feel we needed to do a whole lot of extra work on,’’ Quinn said.
The offensive line has been a priority for Quinn who is heading up his third Lions’ draft.
“I think it starts in the trenches, I think it starts up front. We want to build though the middle of our team, through the offensive line, defensive line, through the middle. That’s what we believe in,’’ Quinn said. “Going through the evaluation process, there were a number of players on the board we liked we just thought at the end of the day Frank was the best player at that time —- a guy who can help us the most and the quickest and we’re really excited about the pick.’’
With the Lions’ roster as it is, many draft analysts expected the Lions to draft a defensive lineman in the first round. At least two possibilities — Da’Ron Payne (13th to Redskins) and Marcus Davenport (14th to Saints) were gone before the Lions picked.
“Everything that happened in the first 19 picks affected who we picked, that’s how the draft goes,” Quinn said. “We had some of those defensive guys rated pretty high too. At the end of the day we got a guy we’re really happy about, liked from the start.”
Quinn said they had conversations going all night about possible trades. “We had multiple offers on the table for our pick,’’ the GM said.
But they liked Ragnow and were able to get him.
“The first time I watched him play on tape I thought this guy is a really good player. Going back the last couple weeks as we fine-tuned to see who might be available, it was pretty clear he would probably be there but we thought it was going to be close,’’ Quinn said. “We got some word from a few teams after us that they were interested in him as well so I think the time was right to pick him.’’
The Lions have picks in the second (51st overall) and third (82nd overall) rounds on Friday starting at 7 p.m. The draft wraps up on Saturday beginning at noon.