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Grading Bob Quinn's NFL Drafts

Detroit Lions Introduce Matt Patricia
Detroit Lions Introduce Matt Patricia
Mab Sidam
Modified 30 Nov 2020, 01:02 IST

The Detroit Lions fired general manager Bob Quinn yesterday after the coach he hired, Matt Patricia, flamed out and failed to justify the franchise's decision to walk away from Jim Caldwell. While that has been the most social media headline grabbing news item, another important factor which played into Quinn's eventual dismissal was his average draft record. As a former lead scout for maybe the greatest dynasty ever, Quinn built a strong reputation in identifying difference makers as the New England Patriots' Director Of Pro Scouting. He drafted several notable players drafted during his tenure:

Divisional Round - Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots
Divisional Round - Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots

Chandler Jones - Perennial All-Pro Talent

Dont'a Hightower - Pro Bowl Talent

Jamie Collins - Pro Bowl Talent

Jimmy Garoppolo - Pro Bowl Talent

James White - High Level Starter

Trey Flowers - High Level Starter

Shaq Mason - High Level Starter

That group is a very strong collection of contributors, and it ranges from All-Pro talent to high-level starters. If Quinn had a three-year draft run like that in Detroit, he might still have a job. Quinn's downfall with the Lions is a terrible look for majority of the scouts in the New England front office, as it makes it seem like Bill Belichick is the sole reason for the franchise's success in the NFL Draft. In reviewing Quinn's career, it's clear that he tried his best to replicate the Patriots' style of play, which routinely relies on a great offensive line in order establish the run and take control of the clock. As for the defense, the Patriots typically prioritize excellent secondary players that force turnovers and three and outs


Through four drafts, Quinn consistently struggled to identify above-average players.

2016 NFL Draft 

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens
Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens

OT Taylor Decker – Starting Level Player.

DT A’Shawn Robinson – Had potential, is now on another team (LA Rams).


C Graham Glasgow – Starting level player, now on another team.

S Miles Killebrew – Started four games across five seasons.

G Joe Dahl – Rotational offensive lineman.

LB Antwione Williams – Miss.

QB Jake Rudock – Miss.

DL Anthony Zettel – Miss.

LS Jimmy Landes – Miss.

RB Dwayne Washington – Rotational back on another team.

Review: Across 10 picks, Bob Quinn identified three starting-level players and two rotation pieces. But four years later, only one starting player from this class remains. This draft was an opportunity to identify high-level contributors and boost the depth. But ultimately it was the first step in what would turn out to be a frustrating tenure. The first three picks indicate that Quinn wanted to solidify the trenches like Belichick might have. He may have had right idea, but the execution was terrible.

2017 NFL Draft

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals
Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals

LB Jarrad Davis - Potential starter who was benched this season.

CB Teez Tabor - Bust.

WR Kenny Golladay - Makes up for that egregious Tabor miss. Pro Bowl talent.

LB Jalen Reeves- Maybin - Miss.

TE Michael Roberts - Miss.


CB Jamal Agnew - Special teams hit.

DE Jeremiah Ledbetter - Miss.

QB Brad Kaaya - Miss.

DE Pat O'Conner - Miss.

Review: Year 2 in the draft cycle was a step in the wrong direction for Bob Quinn and the entire Lions organization. In nine picks, Quinn missed six times. He hit once with a returner, but his first-round pick may just be a bust. To be fair, Golladay saves this draft from being a straight-up disaster, as he has been a successful player. Qunn's second-round pick (Teez Tabor) in this draft may just be the worst draft decision of his tenure.

2018 NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft
2018 NFL Draft

C Frank Ragnow - Pro Bowl player.

RB Kerryon Johnson - Rotational player.


S Tracy Walker - Rotational player.

DE Da'Shawn Hand - Rotational player.

T Tyrell Crosby - Starting-level player.

RB Nick Bawden - Miss.

Review: Quinn bounced back in 2018 with a draft that set the foundations of what a six-win season. Still, the Lions looked like an emerging contender, and these rookies looked quite promising. Quinn drafted a solid supporting cast full of contributors, a starting-level player and a Pro Bowler. With this strong outing, Quinn's 2018 class was reminiscent of the ones he had in New England.

2019 NFL Drraft

Houston Texans v Detroit Lions
Houston Texans v Detroit Lions

TE T.J Hockenson - Starter with Pro Bowl potential.

LB Jahlani Tavai - Rotational linebacker.

S Will Harris - Rotational player.

DE Austin Bryant - Miss.

CB Amani Oruwariye - Starter.

WR Travis Fulgham - Rotational piece on another team.

Ty Johnson - Miss

Isaac Nauta - Miss

P.J. Johnson - Miss

Review: Quinn failed to carry 2018's positive momentum over into the 2019 NFL Draft, as his selections haven't fully panned out. Hockenson seems like a gem, and Oruwariye seems like a long-term option at his position. Elsewhere, the prospects of Harris and Tavai remain up in the air, but they seem promising. Still, this class featured a few misses, so it can't be considered truly sucessful.

2020 NFL Draft

It's too early to judge the 2020 class, as the season is still in progress.



Bob Quinn showed promise in one draft, but he generally missed with most of his other draft classes. He might return to the New England front offce and polish up his ability to identify contributors in this system.

Published 30 Nov 2020, 01:02 IST
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