When former Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn came to the Motor City, he started in the trenches. He drafted three offensive, two defensive linemen and even a long snapper to build from the inside out. That’s six of his 10 picks in 2016 on linemen. Did it work?
Well, there are two offensive linemen still on the team – Taylor Decker and Joe Dahl. Graham Glasgow was lost as a high-end free agent last year and others have moved on as well. Then, Quinn seemingly took a year off of drafting in the trenches before drafting the Lions’ current starting center Frank Ragnow in the first round of the 2018 draft and offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby in the fifth round.
Again, Quinn took a year off from the trenches before drafting offensive linemen Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg back-to-back in the middle of the 2020 draft. So, every other year there would be a few players added to the offensive line pool of players to re-tool and create depth.
The upcoming 2021 draft would have been an “off” year if Quinn would have remained in Detroit and if the pattern would have continued. It would have been much easier to predict the Lions drafting one of the top wide receivers coming out of college. But, a new regime is here. Brad Holmes is now at the helm and has a big decision to make this April that will set the tone for the next few years of Detroit Lions football.
What will Detroit Lions, Brad Holmes do in 2021 draft?
Will Holmes repeat Detroit Lions history and draft a wide receiver in the first round? Or will he come out of the gate building in the trenches with multiple linemen drafted in the 2021 draft? He could completely change the tone of the organization by going heavy on defense, which many would argue is the team’s biggest need after finishing dead last in defensive ranking in 2020.
The recent release of linebacker Christian Jones could signal a new area of focus for the Lions. Jones started 13 games for the Lions last year and tallied 57 tackles. Drafting a linebacker in the first round isn’t out of the question with Penn State’s Micah Parsons as the highest rated at the position and the Lions looking like a great fit.
Also, the defensive line could certainly use some reinforcements. Some signings from the previous regime, including defensive end Trey Flowers and defensive tackle Danny Shelton, have played fairly well. But their standing with the new coaching staff is unknown. Through free agency, the plan on the defensive line may become known, but it could still be a position that gets some attention come April.
No matter which direction he goes in the draft, Holmes will be setting the tone for the season and the future of the Detroit Lions organization. Will he play it safe and follow what could be considered conventional wisdom? Or will he take the risks and reap the rewards with flashy picks? Either way, it will be exciting to see what happens as this team comes together for the 2021 season.