Lions general manager Bob Quinn is proud of the work he did with the New England Patriots for the past 16 years.
“I feel like they’re the best scouting department in the National Football League,” he said last Monday.
Now, Quinn has to find a way to replicate that success in Detroit.
After announcing that he planned to retain Jim Caldwell as head coach, Quinn turned his attention to the scouts as he tries to build a personnel department that can identify talent.
Quinn already has hired Kyle O’Brien as the director of player personnel, and O’Brien will be his top lieutenant. Quinn also fired longtime Lions scout Scott McEwen, but there could be more changes coming as the new GM rebuilds the department.
There’s also a chance those changes won’t come for months as many of the scouts have contracts that run through the spring, but Quinn has an idea of what he thinks makes a good scout.
“If a guy can work hard, acquire good information and be able to not only articulate what they feel about players but also write it down on paper or on their computer, that’s to me what makes a good scout,” he said.
Hard-working was a trait Quinn’s past bosses used to describe him. Before joining the Patriots personnel department, Quinn had no experience in scouting, but Nick Caserio, the director of player personnel for New England, said Quinn learned the process of player evaluation by being diligent and detail-oriented.
O’Brien learned the same scouting process having spent 2000-2011 with the Patriots before going to the Chiefs in 2012 and Jaguars in 2013-15. Now, Quinn will try to bring New England’s system to Detroit, though he said he won’t replicate it exactly.
Quinn said the draft is the most important tool for building a roster, but after spending most of his time in New England in pro scouting, he knows there are other avenues for finding talent. Teams constantly scan the NFL and other leagues for talent to supplement what they find in the draft and free agency.
Although teams are constantly looking for their core players, Quinn stressed the importance of depth in building a team.
“One of my main roles with the Patriots was to find that next player, and I feel like we are going to have to do that here with the Lions,” he said.