Quinn not ruling out interior lineman with Lions' top pick

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — There’s a train of thought, not shared by all, that you shouldn’t draft an interior offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft. Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn doesn’t subscribe to that creed.

Although Quinn isn’t one to publicly evaluate his team’s needs, the Lions are without an obvious starting replacement following the offseason departure of center Travis Swanson. With a couple of interior linemen meriting consideration when the Lions are scheduled to be on the clock in the first round, Quinn noted he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of going that direction.

“If he’s a good football player and he’s at or near the top of our board, I have no problem taking an interior offensive lineman,” Quinn said.

The Lions are changing up blocking schemes this year under new position coach Jeff Davidson. Whether that means an emphasis on zone or man blocking, Quinn isn’t saying, but he could have options for either scheme at pick No. 20.

UTEP’s Will Hernandez is the power blocker. The 348-pound, first-team All American is deceptively athletic for his size, but his calling card is going to be bullying opposing defensive linemen in close quarters.

On the other hand, Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn, a former offensive tackle, is the better fit for a zone scheme, which emphasizes athleticism and getting linemen on the move.

If the Lions doesn’t draft an obvious starting option in the first round, Quinn has stockpiled his roster with versatile options to compete for the opening.

“Joe Dahl has positional flexibility, Kenny Wiggins has position flex, Wesley Johnson, who we signed, has position flex,” Quinn said. “Out of those guys, we have guys who can fill multiple roles and we’re going to put them out there and see the best five.”

The NFL draft’s first round will take place next Thursday.