If Detroit Lions pick a quarterback at No. 7, he may not play immediately. Here’s why

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez | Detroit Free Press

If the Detroit Lions select a quarterback with the No. 7 pick in the NFL draft, don’t expect him to play much this year.

At least not if Anthony Lynn has his way.

The Lions’ new offensive coordinator said Wednesday he wants the best player to play, but he prefers to have a quarterback sit and learn behind a veteran during his first year.

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“If he wins the battle in camp, you’ve got to play the best player,” Lynn said during his first news conference in the new role. “If you don’t, you’re going to have a riot in the locker room if you’re not putting the best people on the field.

“But I’d love to see that rookie sit and watch for a little while. If he could watch for half the season or watch for the first year like Patrick Mahomes did (behind Alex Smith), I believe he can learn so much from the right veteran quarterback because a lot of rookies come into this league and they’re not ready.

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New Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn had a great answer Feb. 10, 2021, when asked about balance on that side of the ball.

“The speed of the game is twice as fast as it was in college and they don’t have success. And in today’s environment with social media things get out of whack and some of these guys lose their confidence and, hell, they never get it back. So if I can sit a rookie, I will. If I can.”

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The Lions’ situation this year, with veteran Jared Goff about to join the team, could be similar to the one Lynn faced last year. As head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Lynn started veteran Tyrod Taylor over No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert.

“Well, the plan all along was yeah, we was going to play the best football player,” Lynn said. “But we didn’t have a preseason, we didn’t have an offseason. So Tyrod Taylor was our Day One starter. And he earned the right to be the Day One starter. Every man on the team voted him team captain. That’s the only time that’s happened since I’ve been there because they knew what type of leader he was.

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“And I’ve had Tyrod before. He was my starting quarterback last time I was an OC and we had a top-10 offense. He’s one of the best guys in the league at taking care of the football, and he has a winning record. So he deserved to be the Day 1 starter and he won it. He played one game with a cracked rib.”

In a weird twist of fate, an injury knocked Taylor out after the season opener and paved the way for Herbert to start the rest of the season. He had 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while going 6-9 and earning Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at cmonarrez@freepress.com and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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