Must the Detroit Lions Draft a Quarterback?

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The Detroit Lions enter the 2022 NFL Draft with three picks in the top 35, including the second overall selection. The team has been relatively quiet this offseason, sticking to the trend we saw last year when they signed younger players to prove it deals. This means the Lions have a bevy of needs to address. One of the more talked about needs is the quarterback position. There’s currently no long-term solution at quarterback in the Motor City. Should the Detroit Lions draft a quarterback in 2022?

Options for Detroit Lions in 2022 NFL Draft

The Lions have eight picks in the upcoming draft, with two picks in the first, third, and sixth rounds. They were previously slated to have a seventh-rounder, however, that pick was recently awarded to the Denver Broncos because of the Trinity Benson trade.

If the Lions are to select a long-term signal-caller, it’d be early in the draft. Detroit has five top 100 picks at their disposal, and could easily pick up more via trade. They could package some of these picks together to move up for a quarterback that’s falling down the board. The Lions have options to secure a quarterback if they want to secure one. Of course, this begs the question of whether they’re interested in the position. And the answer to that question is a bit hard to pin down.

Both head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes have expressed support for incumbent signal-caller Jared Goff. “Jared played good football for us late in the year, so we have a lot of optimism about Jared going forward, so we have a quarterback,” Holmes said at the NFL’s annual meeting in late March. “If you’re asking, like, why did not we not kind of hop into that world (of quarterback movement this offseason), we’re happy with where Jared’s at right now. We’re looking forward to him having a productive year for us.”

Holmes was later asked about taking a quarterback to sit behind Goff for a year, to which he admitted to there potentially being an advantage of taking a signal-caller to sit. “I don’t think Jared would have any issues taking on that role. He’s had more younger guys with less experience behind him, so he’d be very comfortable with that,” Holmes said.

Who Could The Lions Take?

Campbell has said that he’s looking for an immediate starter with the second overall pick. It doesn’t seem as if a quarterback is in the cards there. There isn’t a sure-fire number-one quarterback in this class. The quarterback with the highest upside is Liberty’s, Malik Willis. Mock drafts have had Willis go to Detroit with some regularity. However, he isn’t likely to start over Goff. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is the most pro-ready signal-caller available, and Detroit is bringing Pickett in for a pre-draft visit next week, but he also isn’t likely to start.

The Lions own the 32nd pick in the draft. However, Willis and Pickett look to be drafted before then. Quarterbacks that could be available at 32 include Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Nevada’s Carson Strong, UNC’s Sam Howell, and Ole Miss’ Matt Corral. Detroit’s coaching staff worked with Howell and Willis at the Senior Bowl. They spent time with Pickett and Ridder off the field as well. Taking a quarterback at 32 brings the benefit of the fifth-year option, as well. With the Jacksonville Jaguars picking behind them, Detroit could afford to pass on a signal-caller at 32 and take one at 34 if there’s another player at a different position they love.

That begs the question if the Lions aren’t interested enough in a quarterback to secure a fifth-year option on him, is it worth drafting one altogether?

Do the Lions Need to Draft a Quarterback?

Goff is clearly not the long-term answer under center. The Lions will need to select a quarterback soon, and the arguments for and against “soon” being the 2022 draft are interesting. On one hand, the Lions won’t be world-beaters this season. This could mean they’ll be in a prime position to take a franchise quarterback next season in a draft class expected to have a few potential game-changers at the position. However, there isn’t a guarantee they’ll be bad enough to take one of those quarterbacks. The Lions went on a run at the end of last season that saw them lose the first pick. It’s certainly possible they miss out on a top pick for a quarterback to fall into their lap.

Goff’s contract is easily voidable after the 2022 season. The 2022 season is likely Goff’s last in the Motor City. And Campbell believes the Lions have the capabilities to develop a quarterback. Drafting a quarterback in 12 days is beneficial in that regard. Campbell, new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, and quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell can spend this season molding their guy into their system. Then, they have him step into the starting role next season. That way, the Lions don’t have to worry about whether one of those quarterbacks will be available when they pick next year. They’ll have their guy and can use their picks next year to build around their guy.

However, it isn’t a necessity. Although beneficial, the Lions could wait. Next year’s class is better than the class of signal-callers available this year. They could take their guy next season. He just wouldn’t have the benefit of sitting for a year like any quarterback drafted by Detroit this year. The Lions only have one known pre-draft visit with a quarterback (Pickett) as well. It feels a more realistic possibility the Lions don’t draft a quarterback this year than previously thought.

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