Bob Quinn, general manager of the Detroit Lions, talks about his decision to fire head coach Jim Caldwell. Max Ortiz, Detroit News
Allen Park — Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has no intention of repeating one of his biggest mistakes from the past year. After not addressing the running back position last offseason, he has every intention of upgrading the room in 2018.
Following the draft, Quinn spoke confidently about his team’s backfield.
“I feel pretty good about the position,” Quinn said in May. “There were a couple running backs that we looked at in the middle part of the draft, but just no one felt that was going to come in and really unseat any of the guys that we have on our roster, so I feel good about that spot.”
In hindsight, it’s easy to find a flaw in the statement. Alvin Kamara, who the Lions passed over in the second round to draft cornerback Teez Tabor, established himself as one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers in New Orleans.
In the third round, the Lions traded out of the 85th spot and the Chiefs snatched up Kareem Hunt at No. 86. The former Toledo standout rushed for 1,327 yards and scored eight touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
On Monday, Quinn was asked if he regretted passing on either player and he quickly responded, “No,” but there are tampering rules, which limited how honestly the general manager could answer.
But did Quinn feel he overestimated the backfield rotation he had on the roster?
“No,” he said. “I think our running backs, you know, they didn’t perform as good as everyone thought. I think that’s the facts. But I think we have guys in that room that are tough guys, they’re smart guys, they have skill.”
That said, Quinn “absolutely” intends to add a running back to the roster this year, presumably one that will compete for the starting job.
The Lions finished last in the NFL in rushing yards per game and per carry in 2017. Leading rusher Ameer Abdullah, finished with 552 yards on the ground, but was replaced by Theo Riddick as the starter down the stretch. Undrafted rookie Tion Green paced the team on a per carry basis, averaging 3.9 yards per attempt.