Quinn: 'Best way' to build Lions is through draft

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Lions general manager Bob Quinn still won’t put a timeline on when he expects the team to contend for its first Super Bowl, but Thursday night, provided some details of his plan to build a winner.

Though Quinn has been in Detroit for only a few months, he knows it’s his job to provide the long-suffering fan base with a championship.

“That’s the goal, and everyone in this city and everyone that fills up the stadium, that’s what you guys deserve,” he told about 2,000 fans at the Lions Member Summit at Ford Field. “Those things don’t happen overnight, so my job here, along with coach (Jim Caldwell) and his staff and my staff, is to consistently upgrade the roster to put ourselves in position to get into the playoffs and then make that run to the Super Bowl, which we all want.”

The summit featured Quinn, Caldwell and president Rod Wood answering questions submitted by season-ticket holders.

Skeptics, however, will point to Quinn’s hesitancy in free agency as a missed opportunity to upgrade the roster, but he defended his thought process. To this point, wide receiver Marvin Jones — the team’s top target — is the only marquee free agent signed.

“I think the best way to build a football team is through the draft, and you can supplement through free agency if you have some real serious needs,” he said. “That’s my philosophy, and that’s the best way to build this team long term. … I think it’s really important to not get into the hype of free agency and seeing these other teams go crazy because over the long haul that doesn’t work, not in my opinion.

“So, I want to build this thing the right way and build it for the long term.”

The offensive line is a position the Lions want to upgrade, and Quinn said they could add more linemen — they signed guard Geoff Schwartz on Wednesday — during free agency or the draft. But, like other positions, the market value of some linemen exceeded what the Lions wanted to spend.

Even though most of the top free agents are off the market, Quinn said he’s not done searching for upgrades.

“I’m never comfortable with the roster,” he said. “I’m always looking to make it better.”

Quinn wouldn’t reveal his plans for the No. 16 pick in the first round of the draft, which begins April 28. One of his answers, however, led to one fan shouting his desire for the team to have to 32nd pick, which goes to the winner of the Super Bowl.

“Me too,” Quinn said. “I want to pick 32nd next year.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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