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Lions open to trading No. 3 pick in NFL draft, GM Bob Quinn says
11:41 AM ET
  • Michael RothsteinESPN Staff Writer

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    • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
    • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has started having conversations about potentially trading the No. 3 pick in next week’s NFL draft.

While he declined to say whether the club has offers on the table from other teams, he made it clear Friday he is open to moving down from the pick. And, if possible, he’d like to have his mind made up before the draft begins Thursday night.

“I’ve had a few of those conversations over the last week or so. Had a few of those conversations, honestly, as far back as the combine,” Quinn said. “And then there will be more substantive talks next week if people are interested.

“… If I’m going to do something, I think we’ll have a pretty good idea Thursday afternoon of kind of where we stand. I don’t think I’m going to be making a huge decision on trading the No. 3 overall pick while I’m on the clock, while I’m virtually talking to our head coach and our other personnel.”

This is the first time in Quinn’s career, spanning almost two decades in New England and now five seasons in Detroit, when he has picked as high as No. 3. And it’s a spot he says he hopes he’s never in again.

When he’s moving between tiers of players, Quinn said he pays less attention to value charts — whether it’s his own or the famed Jimmy Johnson trade value chart — in order to significantly win the compensation portion of any deals. So while he’s open to a trade, it would take a big-time haul for him to drop out of the first tier of players, although Quinn wouldn’t say how many players he believes are in the first tier.

“I could see a scenario, yes, but ideally, no. Obviously, I say this all the time, but it takes two teams to do a trade,” Quinn said. “So when you’re trading back, you’re going to trade back after 10 or 11, you have to know the ramifications of that.

“You’re going to get a different level of player. That has to be factored in with the compensation you’re going to get back and if you feel good about losing out on one of those guys that you like higher.”

Quinn will make those decisions from his home office, which features a television to his right, three monitors to his left, two laptops, a draft phone, his home phone, two cellphones and a printer. The draft boards will be emailed and printed and screen-shared on a to-be-determined platform. They’ll also have “redundancies for everything” at his house and head coach Matt Patricia’s house, for everything from internet connection to power and phones. Quinn also will have two separate video conference chats — one with his smaller group of eight to 10 people and a second chat with everyone else who would typically be in the draft room.

As for whom the Lions might take, whether it’s at No. 3 or elsewhere, Quinn said they are going to look for the best player available — ideally, a player who can come in and help Detroit this season. That adds another wrinkle in drafting, he said, because they don’t know how much of an offseason they might have — if any — because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many mock drafts have linked the Lions to Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah for months, whether that was at No. 3 or Nos. 5 or 6. Quinn said Friday he’s not sure why cornerbacks haven’t been selected highly in the past, but he believes it’s a critical position in the NFL now.

Whether it’s Okudah or someone else, Quinn made it clear he’s looking for a player who can more than likely come in and play immediately.

“We have to do a good job of making sure … the player we select can come in right away, especially if we’re drafting that early, come in day one and be a player, be a guy that can come in and help us win games,” Quinn said. “We always give rookies a little bit of leeway to learn the system and all those things, but I think this year is a little different.

“We’re making sure this year that we’re making the right decision that a guy can come in and — maybe without a full offseason program — come in and contribute. That’s the goal every year. That hasn’t changed. We’re just in a little different atmosphere right now.”

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