Mel Kiper Jr.: Detroit Lions should build around Jared Goff, pass on QB with seventh pick

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions could have their pick of quarterbacks not named Trevor Lawrence with the No. 7 pick of April’s NFL draft, and in every case, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said they should pass on that player in favor of one who plays another position.

“I would not consider a quarterback if I were the Lions,” Kiper said in a teleconference Monday. “I think Jared Goff is a 26-year-old quarterback who has been to a Super Bowl, was off to the races as a great No. 1 pick overall and all that. Now you have people that are familiar with him, he’s familiar with in terms of the (new Lions) front office. To me, you build around the quarterback.”

LIONS MAILBAG: Free agent targets, trade down possibilities and potential cap cuts

The Lions acquired Goff and three draft picks in their January trade of Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

The trade will not become official until the new league year opens March 17, but Kiper said a change of scenery could be just what Goff needs to re-ignite his career.

[ NFL draft analyst: Goff trade likely takes Lions out of QB mix at 7 ]

Goff led the Rams to 11 wins in his first full season as starter in 2017 and helped them go 13-3 and reach the Super Bowl the next season.

The Rams scored just three points in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, and Goff fell out of favor with Rams head coach Sean McVay the past two years.

Kiper, though, still believes in the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft.

DAVE BIRKETT: Why Trey Lance to the Lions at No. 7 makes sense, even after Goff’s arrival

“I think Jared Goff can be a good quarterback in this league,” Kiper said. “Can he be super elite? Well, there was a time when he was considered one of the bright, young quarterbacks and a really good quarterback who had a chance to be great when he was leading that team to a Super Bowl. I think if he can kind of recapture those moments and get back the confidence that he had back then, that I think was maybe lost a little bit this year, then I think Jared Goff is the right man for the job.”

In his most recent mock draft published last week, Kiper had the Lions trading down from the No. 7 spot to No. 12 and taking Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.

Kiper said the Lions’ best option in the draft is to add pieces around Goff, with one of three wide receivers — LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or the Alabama duo of DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle — being the play if they stay at No. 7.

He rates Smith first among that group, followed by Chase and Waddle. He said No. 7 is too high for Parsons, who opted out of the 2020 season.

“That’s been the issue with Matthew Stafford, he didn’t have enough talent around him,” Kiper said. “Defensively they always had issues. They’ve been trying to fix the offensive line, get the right running back, have the receivers stay healthy. They added the tight end. They never had everything working together. They always would add a strength in this group or that group, but it would end because of injuries and players not living up to their potential, or whatever went awry. They were never able to put it all together for Matthew Stafford. So that hopefully with a new organization, they can do that for Jared Goff.”

OUR MOCK DRAFT: Dave Birkett’s 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0

Kiper projected five quarterbacks to go in the top nine of last week’s mock, with three of those — Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance — going 7-9.

Fields, Kiper’s No. 2-rated quarterback prospect behind Lawrence but ahead of BYU’s Zach Wilson, went to the 49ers at No. 7 in their trade up with the Lions.

“Justin Fields is going to probably fall into that seven area,” Kiper said. “Had he not had those two hiccups, he probably would have been right there with the majority of the teams and been a consensus maybe No. 2. But I think the Indiana and Northwestern game prevented that from happening. I think that holding those two games against him, I think, is unfair. I have Fields as the second quarterback in the draft behind Lawrence. Some have Wilson. I’ve heard some have Fields. … I think Wilson ultimately goes before Justin Fields, but like I said, I have Fields rated slightly ahead of Wilson.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

Articles You May Like

Dan Campbell makes Lions player-coach relationship easier
7-round mock 1.0: Lions move back, solidify offensive line
Look: Lions CB Jeff Okudah and WR Breshad Perriman working out together
The Dan Campbell effect is making a difference this offseason
Detroit Lions Dueling Mock Drafts 3.0: How many needs can be filled in one draft?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *