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NFL Draft

Did Lions Do Enough To Stabilize Themselves Heading Into 2020?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 3, 2020
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Lions general manager Bob Quinn has spent over a decade working as both a scout and on the personnel side of the NFL. 

He comes from the Patriots’ coaching tree and got first start as a player personnel assistant in 2000. Quinn stayed in that role for two seasons before he was promoted to a pro scout. From there, he continued to climb the ladder. 

After a 16-year stint in New England, he became a GM in Detroit. Since he joined the Patriots in 2000, they compiled a 21-8 mark in the postseason that included four Super Bowl titles. He came from a winning culture in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with expectations of the same now in Motor City. The Lions only recorded one postseason victory since winning the NFL title in 1957.

Quinn was quickly tasked with convincing one of the franchise’s biggest icons from retiring abruptly after nine seasons. He was unable to persuade wide receiver Calvin Johnson to return and immediately started his tenure needing to replace a difference-maker in the team’s arsenal.

Quinn’s first season got off to a promising start. The Lions finished 9-7 under coach Jim Caldwell, whose time expired following another 9-7 performance in 2017. Quinn fired Caldwell after four seasons.

He turned his attention to Matt Patricia to establish the “Patriots Way” and leave an early imprint on what he was trying to assemble in Detroit.

Patricia spent the previous six seasons (2012-17) serving as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator following stops as their safeties coach (2011), linebackers coach (2006-10), assistant offensive line coach (2005) and coaching assistant (2004).

The Lions, however, have struggled to find their niche and coming off their second consecutive losing season. Detroit’s 3-12 record in 2019 was its worst mark since 2012.

There was a lot of chatter about the direction of the franchise, but that was put to rest when principal owner Martha Ford expressed her support of Patricia and Quinn. In an open letter to fans, she said both would return in 2020. 

"Our 2019 season has not gone as anticipated by anyone in our organization. Our team has played hard and well enough to be very competitive. It has been well-documented that we are one of only three teams to have held the lead in each of our first 12 games. Unfortunately, all too often, we have come up a few plays short of victory. Our current win-loss record is ultimately very disappointing. As we evaluate this season, we look beyond just our record. We are striving to build a team with a strong foundation of high-character players and coaches, that is physically and mentally tough, with depth at every position and one that can be successful over many years, not just one season."

The 2020 NFL Draft was a prime opportunity for Quinn to reevaluate and restock the deck. He ended up taking the best-player-available approach. Quinn added Jeffrey Okudah with the third-overall pick and arguably the best running back in the draft, D'Andre Swift, in the second round. Okudah fills a hole Darius Slay left when he was traded to the Eagles, and the Lions were in need of an explosive rusher.

The next phase of the draft is where Quinn wanted to fortify the trenches. He selected an offensive or defensive lineman with the next three picks including EDGE Julian Okwara and guards Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg

The result of the draft should be seen as a big positive for the Quinn-Patricia marriage, but it's no secret that 2020 is a make or break year for them. After finishing in the basement of the NFC North for two straight seasons, there’s added pressure for the upcoming season; but with a healthy team and arguably the most talented roster since Quinn and Patricia have taken over, it is time for the wins to follow.

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