The projected run of quarterbacks to be taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft could be historic. And the Detroit Lions might just be one of the teams dipping their collective toes into the passer market.
To kick off their latest rebuild, the new regime in the Motor City traded away longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford this offseason, shipping him off to the Los Angeles Rams for a bounty of high draft picks and a two-time Pro Bowl passer, Jared Goff.
And while the Lions are busy peddling Goff as their franchise quarterback of choice, the fact the Rams were willing to part ways with two future first-round draft picks in part to be rid of him is a major red flag.
Goff’s presence in Detroit certainly doesn’t hinder the team from drafting his eventual replacement later this month. And one draft expert believes the Lions will do just that if given the right opportunity.
Here’s what NFL Media Analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote on his Mock Draft 3.0 that appeared on NFL.com Tuesday after predicting the Lions will select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields with the seventh overall selection in the first round.
“This could be a trade spot, with some teams picking after Detroit potentially in the market for a quarterback, but I wouldn’t rule out the Lions staying put and taking a signal-caller themselves. Fields has more upside than Jared Goff.”
As many as five quarterbacks could be selected in the top ten of the first round this year. Those passers being Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota’s Trey Lance, Alabama’s Mac Jones, and FIelds. Jeremiah has four of the five being the top four picks of the draft, with the Lions landing the latter at seven overall.
For much of last year, it appeared Fields was considered the second-best quarterback in the class behind Lawrence (or possibly even better than him). But Justin has seemingly been leapfrogged by the other candidates over the past few months. And some believe that’s a mistake. Are the Lions one of them?
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Fields was the third runner-up for the Heisman in 2019. That after throwing for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only three interceptions in 14 games as a sophomore. He also ran for 484 yards and 10 more scores.
Last season, the junior passer played in just eight games, threw for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, and six picks. Fields also rushed for 383 yards and five scores on the ground.
If Justin Fields is on the board when the Detroit Lions are on the clock early in the first round, they might have a hard time passing on him. After all, Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell has Fields’ NFL comparison being somewhere between Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys.