LIONS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER BOB QUINN 2018 NFL DRAFT DAY TWO QUOTE SHEET

Allen Park, Mich. – Following day two of the 2018 NFL Draft, Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn was available to the local media. The following is a quote sheet with excerpts from his media session.

Opening statement: “OK, so to sum up today, you know, in the second round we traded up for Kerryon Johnson, running back from Auburn. Felt really good about that pick. He’s a guy that we kind of targeted at the start of the day, thinking about it overnight. Going back this morning, looking at the draft board with the staff, he was a guy that we were hoping was going to fall to us, but we really couldn’t say for sure that he was going to. So, felt fortunate to move up those number of spots and get Kerryon on the team, so that was good. You know, a lot of stuff happened, I’d say, between our pick in the second round with Kerryon and our pick in the third round. Probably was on the phone more than I’ve ever been on various trades. A lot of things that just didn’t work out, you know, you always need two teams to make trades. But it was really, I’d say, a busy couple hours in between our two picks. Fortunately, you know, one of the guys that we had targeted at the start of the day, Tracy Walker from Louisiana-Lafayette, was available at that pick. So, really great to add a powerful runner in the second round and a versatile defensive back, you know, primarily a safety in the back end of the defense. We’re very excited about both of those guys.”

On why he selected DB Tracy Walker instead of a defensive lineman: “When I looked at the board, when we looked the board, there was a number of guys in the secondary that were more highly-rated than anybody else at different positions.”

On what he likes about Walker’s game: “Good size, very athletic, play-making ball skills, toughness, tackling, speed. When he played against the highest level of competition on his schedule, I’d say go watch the Texas A&M game. That’s a good game for him, as well his rest of his schedule. But when you’re evaluating players that might not be at an SEC school or a Big Ten school, you try to watch them against their best competition and those games were really important to us, as well as the East-West All-Star Game, which we go down there every year to look at players. He was one of the best players in that game that entire week when I was there personally.”

On Walker only being voted third-team All-Sun Belt: “Who votes for that?”

On if Michigan DT Maurice Hurst is still on his draft board: “Yeah, I’m not going to get into who’s on and off my board. I know this is a subject because we’re local here, but I’m not going to comment on who’s on or off our board.”

On RB Kerryon Johnson’s injury history: “Yeah, our physical came back good on Kerryon. Saw him at the Combine, our doctors looked at him like they look at every player at the Combine. He was a player that we visited here about three weeks ago, put him through another physical. Hey, you draft players out of the SEC, they’re going to be a little banged up, but he’s good to go.”

On Johnson’s durability in the NFL: “He’ll hold up. He’s a guy that they (Auburn) run inside the tackles primarily in that offense, if you know Gus Malzahn’s offense. They basically run between the guards, so I think this guy’s very versatile that he can run inside, but I think we’ll use him more to run outside as well. So, listen, any player you take, I’d say, any position except for maybe corner or receiver out of the SEC, they’re tough and they’re physical. So, we feel really good about that. There’s no issues with his durability for us.”

On what he likes best about Johnson’s running style: “Yeah, he has a very unique running style, I’d say. We’ve talked a lot about these backs in this draft for the last, you know, I’d say year. He’s a very patient runner initially, but when he sees the hole he’s got great acceleration and he really finishes runs very well. He’s a little bit, I’d say, of an upright runner initially, but when it’s time to get his pads down, he gets his pads down and gets yards after contact and finishes runs very well. So, that combined with good speed, good vision, you know, slashing style would be something that we’ve talked about that kind of can categorize his running style as well.”

On what the picks of Johnson and C Frank Ragnow add to the offense: “Yeah, I think it’s, you know, having balance on offense is important. I think, as you guys know better than anybody, I don’t think we’ve been the most balanced offense the last few years, right? So, I think that was a priority in the offseason to improve the running game. I think I said that here in January, so that was something we set out in free agency, in the draft. We’re going to continue to look at every avenue to improve that. I think we’ve done that the last couple days.”

On giving up a pick to move up and select Johnson: “That’s something we thought long and hard about because, you know, I did want to acquire more picks, but I think we knew there was going to be a run on running backs in the second round and he was the one we wanted. So, that’s why we made the trade, so it’s a balance. You know, that’s why I never come into these pre-draft press conferences and tell you guys I’m going to trade up or down because you never know what’s going to be on the board at that time, whether you want to move up or down. So, that’s why we did it.”

On if there was a distinct drop off in the running back position after Johnson: “I wouldn’t say it was a huge drop off, but he was just the highest-rated guy for us.”

On what he sees for RB Ameer Abdullah’s future: “Yeah, I mean, Ameer’s here. He was here this week, you know, really good voluntary mini-camp, so we’re going to let all these guys compete. You know, this isn’t’ a one-back league. You know, we carry four to five. Last year we carried five running backs on our roster, so that’s one position where we have great depth, so that’s great for us. You know, injuries do happen at the running back position every year, right? So, we have five, six – We have seven right now on the roster, so we feel good about each and every one of them.”

On if S Glover Quin participated in this week’s voluntary mini-camp: “Yeah, Glover was not here this week. He’s got some family obligations in Houston that he’s taking care of. But he’s been in constant communication with me and Coach (Patricia) about that, so we know what’s going on.”

On if the stable of running backs helps increase the value of Johnson: “I think anytime a running back carries the ball in the National Football League, there’s a risk for injury. I mean, listen, we all know what the guys on defense look like. But on top of that, I would say that there are very few backs in this league that you’re just going to turn around and hand the ball to 30 times. I mean, you can count those guys maybe on like a couple fingers. So, you know, it’s running back by committee, it’s whatever you guys call it. Like, we’re not a one-back team. We have four or five running backs on the team, each of them are going to have their role. We’re probably going to have three of them active every week during the regular season and each one of those guys is going to have a role in our offense.”

On if he might take a chance on a certain player the later the draft goes: “Absolutely. Yeah, you have to kind of weigh how bad the medical risk is. Either, number one, he’s off your board and  you’re like, ‘I won’t take him in the seventh round.’ Or, ‘OK, well, we kind of have this guy in, say, the third round. OK, well, that medical risk is a little risky. So, let’s bump him down a round to feel more comfortable taking him in the fourth.’ So, that’s definitely part of the process and we go through the doctors. You know, that doctors meeting a couple weeks ago was pretty tedious. It’s like five hours long. I’m really not a happy camper after that meeting, but it’s something that we kind of regroup the next day and say, ‘All right, well, these are the X amount of guys that really have serious injury concerns that we want to leave on the board. Let’s adjust their grade accordingly so we’re not taking too much of a risk.’

On looking more than one year out when addressing a position need such as safety: “Yeah, I mean, I think we like Tracy (Walker) as a player and I think, if I’m not mistaken, two of those guys are under contract for multiple years and Quandre (Diggs) has one year left. So, you know, listen, everything we do to add to the team, we’re doing it for a reason. Whether it’s to add competition to the position group, to draft a starter, to draft whatever, but I think it all comes into the equation. You know. Tracy’s a versatile guy, like I talked about, that can play the deep part of the field. He can come down and cover man-to-man, so he’s got a lot of things going for him on top of special teams.”

On the confidence he has in the front seven right now: “Yeah, we have a lot of confidence. You know, we went out in free agency and signed three linebackers. We went and signed a defensive tackle in free agency and we have depth coming back, so we feel good about that. Now, will we not add to that here in the next, you know, couple days or next few weeks? There’s a lot of time before now and when we play in September, so we’re always looking to upgrade the roster and we’ll continue to look at that.”

On if it is just coincidence that he has now completed four draft trades with the Patriots: “It’s really easy to work with people you know, right? There’s not like – I’m just telling you. You call some teams and it would take like 30 minutes to do a trade because they can’t make a decision. I’m just telling you how it is. Some teams you can call and you can get it done in like 30 seconds, so it really depends on the team. And like, you know, if I call someone that I’ve worked with, whether it’s Atlanta, Tennessee, New England, you know, the other teams I’ve been associated with, those trades happen really fast because it’s either yes or no. It’s not like, ‘Well, you know, let me think about this for eight minutes and I’ll call you back.’ Like, I usually hang up the phone, you talk about it internally for a couple minutes. ‘Does that make sense? Is that good value?’ Look at the trade chart, ‘Yeah, that looks pretty good. Do you want it? OK, yeah, we’ll do it if our player’s on the clock.”

On how long today’s trade took to complete: “Probably two phone calls. Probably a total of a minute.”

On what he attributes RB Derrius Guice’s draft slide to: “I think there’s some things that some teams are worried about in terms of some things in his history. I’m not going to get into specifics on that, but that’s it. There were some things, you know, we met with Derrius. He’s a good kid. There’s some things that we were just a little concerned about. We weren’t ready to take him in the early second round.”

On if he talked to CB Darius Slay about Walker: “Yeah, you got a chair? Yeah, so it’s pretty funny. I’m still trying to figure out the exact relationship. They are cousins, but I don’t think they’re first cousins, so when you guys get Tracy on the phone, I’d love for him to describe exactly. He just told me they were cousins and it was a little complicated, so I said, ‘All right. That’s good. That’s all I need to know.’ But yeah, Tracy is a good kid and I talked to Darius about it. It was actually pretty funny. You know, you try to lighten these kids up when you interview them and try to get them like a little bit out of their element. So I’m like, ‘Tell me something about Darius that I don’t know so I can see him in the locker room and give him some stuff about.’ So he said, ‘He thinks he’s really good at basketball, but he’s not.’ So me being the wise guy, I saw Darius the next day and said, ‘Guess what your boy said about you?’ You know Darius, he was laughing and joking, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘You’re not very good at basketball,’ and he went off. Darius is funny though. They have a really good relationship. Darius didn’t come and say, you know, ‘You have to take him, he’s a great player.’ He usually stays in his lane for the most part. It’s fun though. It should be an interesting locker room for you guys. I think we’re going to put their lockers on the complete opposite side. He’s going to be over with the offensive line.”

On his excited reaction to drafting Walker: “Do you see every reaction when we take them? Yeah, we were excited about the pick because there were a few teams in front of us that we were a little nervous about. Not to name any names, but we do all our research of what teams, who visited with what teams? And there were two teams I think the 10 or 12 picks above us that had visited with him on a 30-visit. So, we have all that information in our hands and we get nervous that a guy that we know we want to take at that spot has teams that invested a 30-visit for a guy that was, like you guys said, you know, seventh round. So, really happy with the pick.”

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