The Detroit Lions’ best-case scenario in the upcoming NFL draft seems increasingly unlikely to materialize, according to Daniel Jeremiah. The ideal situation for the Lions would be for four quarterbacks to be taken in the first five picks, he said during a conference call. If that happens, the Lions would have a shot at one of the premier players in the draft, specifically one of the top defensive prospects.
QB Conundrum Creates Suspense
Bryce Young, the Alabama quarterback, is widely expected to be chosen No. 1 overall by the Carolina Panthers. However, the Houston Texans, who are in need of a quarterback, might opt for a different position with their No. 2 pick. Should the Texans choose a defensive player, at least one or possibly two of the Big Four quarterbacks—Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and Kentucky’s Will Levis—could be pushed out of the top five.
Teams and Top Prospects
The Arizona Cardinals, at No. 3, are unlikely to draft a quarterback since Kyler Murray is under contract. The Indianapolis Colts, at No. 4, have done extensive work on the top quarterbacks and may trade up to get one. The Seattle Seahawks, at No. 5, are wild cards, with Geno Smith under contract but lingering long-term questions.
Jeremiah ranks three defensive players—Will Anderson (No. 2), Tyree Wilson (No. 4), and Jalen Carter (No. 5)—among his top five prospects. The Texans, Cardinals, and Seahawks have been linked to these players in the pre-draft process. If all three are taken before the Lions’ pick at No. 6, the team may have to choose between the draft’s top cornerback, offensive lineman, or Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
Lions GM Brad Holmes acknowledges the uncertainty at the top of this year’s draft due to the quarterbacks. The team has brought in Stroud and Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker for pre-draft visits to get a better handle on them and the quarterback market in general. Holmes said:
We’re doing the best that we can (to figure out where they’ll go). You don’t have the absolute crystal ball, you’ve just got to just do all the research.
Drafting a Quarterback?
When asked about his interest in drafting a quarterback, Holmes said he plans to add one to the roster between now and training camp. However, he did not indicate whether the Lions are in the market for one at No. 6. The team currently has Jared Goff and Nate Sudfeld under contract as quarterbacks.
Holmes points out that the team will not be forced to make any moves that do not line up with their plans. He assures that by training camp, the Lions will have another quarterback at some point:
I mean, of course (we could draft one). It’s a position on the football field that you got to have. And I’m not trying to be a smart ass about that, but yeah. I mean, we’d like to add another one. Whether it’s through the draft, whether it’s after the draft, just like I talked about to you guys probably in Arizona that some of these (free agent) quarterbacks, they’re waiting till after the draft to see what teams do. Guys that have had a lot more experience. That’s always a possibility, but we won’t be pinched, we won’t be forced to do anything that doesn’t line up and doesn’t match. But we’ll get, by training camp, when we get in there, we’ll make sure that we’ll have another quarterback at some point.
Late-Round QBs: Lottery Tickets
The Lions have not selected a quarterback in the NFL Draft since Brad Kaaya in 2016. There is a steep drop-off in talent at the position after Hooker this year. However, ESPN analyst Jordan Reid points out that Brock Purdy’s success as a seventh-round pick with the San Francisco 49ers could tempt teams to spend a late-round pick on a player who might end up being a valuable asset.
Historically, few late-round NFL draft picks find success as quarterbacks. However, for teams that land a player like Purdy, Ryan Fitzpatrick (seventh round, 2005), Tyrod Taylor (sixth round, 2011), or Tom Brady (sixth round, 2000), the gamble can be well worth it. Reid believes that this year, a record number of late-round quarterbacks will be selected as insurance or potential assets, just like Brock Purdy.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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