Bob Quinn doesn’t let fan expectations or sentiment drive his draft decisions.
That shouldn’t even be questioned. He has worked all his professional life to learn the draft process.
The Lions general manager just completed his fourth draft weekend in Detroit.
On Day 3 of the draft Saturday he added three players on defense and three on offense. He was all smiles taking the podium afterward.
“Good mix of skill guys and big guys – felt like good value. Kind of made that one trade with Atlanta, moved back a couple spots, thought that was good business to acquire that other pick for really just moving down six spots, I think. I thought it was a good day,’’ Quinn said.
And it wasn’t just a good day.
“Thought it was a really good weekend for us overall as a team, got the team better,’’ Quinn added.
T.J. Hockenson, his first-round pick, filled a need at tight end and seemed to go over well.
It was the second-round pick, linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who raised a few eyebrows.
Why? Because he was not deemed second-round worthy by many NFL draft analysts and fans. That led to hand-wringing and deep sighs from many fans and short-sighted media members who thought they knew better. Ask them, they’d give you a list of players they preferred with that pick.
Tavai wasn’t as well known, in part because he played at Hawaii.
Will he be a Pro Bowl player? Maybe. It’s too early to know. No guarantees on his future.
None of this matters to Quinn. He took Tavai because he followed the Lions’ draft board which was created over the past 12 months.
With all due respect to fans, media, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and other NFL draft analysts, Quinn knows the Lions’ needs and wants better than any one.
His first three drafts yielded good results. A year ago he made six picks and the five that stayed healthy made significant contributions to the season. His top six selections in 2017 are starters or regular players and in 2016 he drafted Taylor Decker, A’Shawn Robinson and Graham Glasgow with his first three picks. All are starters.
Quinn has proven that he can draft. With each draft he gets closer to the roster that he desires.
Still his pick of Tavai was roundly criticized.
The GM, who learned his craft while with the Patriots, won’t lose sleep over the criticism.
‘If I worry about what other people think, I’ll be up all night. Trust me. I respect the question. I really do and I understand it. But if we go into this process being scared about what other people think about our team and our evaluations, then we’ve got a long way to go,’’ Quinn said.
“We’re convicted on the guys we take. Are we going to be right 100 percent of the time? No, no team is. But I think we do a tremendous amount of work. And this is a 12-month process for us and this is something that is the lifeline of this organization in terms of players. So, I feel very confident about the evaluations and the guys we took this weekend, and also some of the rookie free agents we’re working on now,’’ he added.
Quinn wants exactly what the fans want — a team that can win in the playoffs.
Is that so hard to understand?
Let’s watch Tavai and the other picks on game days. That’s the only way to judge the draft.