Bob Quinn Takes You Inside Lions' Virtual Draft-Day Trade For Jonah Jackson


The NFL Draft was different for everyone this year, for fans, for players and especially for general managers. Put it this way: Bob Quinn had the Lions' IT director parked in his driveway in a Winnebago three days in a row. 

With the draft going virtual due to the coronavirus, even the process of submitting a pick took on a life of its own. 

In a normal year, the Lions would have two representatives at the draft to relay the team's pick to the NFL. Detroit's point-man is usually longtime equipment manager Tim O'Neill. Quinn would call O'Neill and give him a name, O'Neill would write the name on an official draft card and hand it to a runner at the Lions' table, and the runner would officially turn it in. Relatively simple. 

"This year," Quinn told the Jamie and Stoney Show, "there’s a few more moving parts."

Especially in the event of a trade. Like when the Lions wanted to move up in the third round for Jonah Jackson -- a guard they 'fell in love with' at the Senior Bowl. Instead of hashing it out in a warroom at the team facility, Quinn and his staff were communicating via Zoom while also making trade calls to several teams at once. 

They soon struck a deal with the Colts, sending picks Nos. 85, 149 and 182 to Indianapolis for picks Nos. 75 and 197. 

"It was a total team effort from everyone in our virtual draft room," said Quinn. "We had multiple people calling basically all the teams that were above us, because we wanted to go get Jonah -- for the right price. ... There’s five minutes on the clock in Round 3, so we got that trade done in two or three minutes, able to call it in to the league, make sure it was confirmed and then we were on the clock."

Now, instead of relaying the pick to O'Neill, Quinn had to submit it himself through one of the several computers in his virtual draft room

"I’m doing the trade with the Colts, get that accomplished, and then I have to go to my second computer which is connected to the NFL’s Microsoft Teams account, and that’s actually how you submit the pick," he said. "I had to fill out seven boxes, like, ‘Third round, 75th overall, Jonah Jackson, guard, Ohio State.' Then you had to put in a security code at the bottom, then you hit submit and you sit there and wait for about two seconds and then it pops up, ‘Your pick is confirmed.'