Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
Jared Goff may not be the long-term solution at quarterback, but the Detroit Lions are counting on him to be their starter in 2021 and that is enough to convince one prominent analyst that the team will not go quarterback with the No. 7 pick in April’s draft.
“My guess is that they’re not in the market this year,” CBS and NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said at the Super Bowl last week. “This is an opportunity for Jared Goff to show what he has and for the Lions to continue to build up their team with the draft capital that Brad Holmes was able to get in this deal with the Rams, the new GM. That would be my guess initially.”
The Lions agreed to trade Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Goff and three draft picks last month; a third-round selection this year and first-round picks in 2022-23.
The deal will not be official until the new league year opens March 17.
Goff, 26, helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl two years ago, but fell out of favor with coach Sean McVay after back-to-back nine-win seasons and with shrinking touchdown numbers and rising interceptions.
The Lions will be in rebuilding mode in 2021, owning a top-10 pick for the third straight season and could look for a young quarterback to build around.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, and as many as five other quarterbacks could go in Round 1: BYU’s Zach Wilson, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, Alabama’s Mac Jones and Florida’s Kyle Trask.
Wilson, Fields and Lance are considered potential top-10 picks.
Holmes was with the Rams when they took Goff with the first pick of the 2016 draft, and kept him on the bench for the first half of the season. New Lions personnel executive John Dorsey also has been a part of drafting quarterbacks high (Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield) and letting them sit to start their rookie season.
“I don’t think they would shy away from it if there was someone they were absolutely in love with,” Davis said. “This is a great opportunity. But I would sense that they would try and do more with the rest of the team now when you trade for a guy like Goff who’s actually proven in the league, even if people think that maybe he’s not. The guy’s been to the Super Bowl. So I think they take that opportunity there.”
Along with a potential long-term need at quarterback, the Lions have myriad holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
Their top three receivers will be unrestricted free agents, and only Kenny Golladay has the potential to be back. Defensively, the Lions need upgrades at all three levels and could lose sack leader Romeo Okwara to free agency. Kicker Matt Prater and return man Jamal Agnew are pending free agents on special teams.
If the Lions do decide to go quarterback at No. 7, Davis said Lance is the type of new-age, dual-threat signal-caller that has come into vogue in the league, though with a caveat.
“Mobile, strong quarterback, can make plays with his legs and his arm as well. Not trying to box him in and make him play from the pocket like we did years ago,” Davis said. “The only thing about Trey Lance, remember, he’d be a redshirt sophomore, so you don’t have a lot of starts and that’s one of the things that some teams worry about a little bit in terms of experience.”