On a night that included Ezekiel Elliott wearing a belly shirt on the red carpet (fail), Laremy Tunsil‘s Twitter account getting hacked (bigger fail), and everybody’s mock draft being blown up by the time the No. 3 pick was announced, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn stuck to the game plan and got his guy.
By the time the Lions were on the clock at No. 16, prospects like DE Shaq Lawson, DT Robert Nkemdiche, WR Laquon Treadwell, and LB Myles Jack were there for the taking. There was also the option of trading down in the 1st Round and acquiring more picks later in the draft. But rather than than rolling the dice, which many of those options would have been, Quinn played it safe and selected OT Taylor Decker out of Ohio State.
During the 2015 season, the Lions offensive line allowed 44 sacks (10th most in the NFL) and was partly responsible for a running game that was dead last in the entire league. When Quinn took over as GM he knew that he would have to upgrade the offensive line if he expected the offense to progress in 2016. By selecting Decker, Quinn was making sure he got a player he feels is versatile and would help address an immediate need.
“Taylor’s a player who has played both spots in college the last two years, the left tackle as a sophomore and he started at right tackle.” Quinn said” So, he does have versatility and that’s one of the things we really like about him.”
“We’re going to put him in the mix with the rest of the tackles on the roster and see who the best players are at the right positions. We’re not going to pinpoint him, now or until we’re ready to play a game, at what position, what side of the ball. He is a tackle, so he’ll either be right tackle or left tackle and that’s really to be determined.”
Is Taylor Decker going to be the starting left tackle when the 2016 regular season begins? Probably not, but it’s a safe bet that he will compete and win the starting right tackle job by the time Training Camp is finished.
That safe bet was exactly the one that Quinn was willing to make in his first NFL Draft as GM of the Lions.