Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes had honest dialogue with quarterback Jared Goff in the buildup to the NFL draft, letting him know that the Lions would consider taking a quarterback with the No. 7 overall pick.
Ultimately, the Lions went in a different direction — they took the draft’s best offensive tackle, Oregon’s Penei Sewell — and for that Goff is grateful.
“I think it’s a nice vote of confidence, obviously for me,” Goff said. “And I think what’s not lost on me is their first move as a staff with Brad and Dan (Campbell) was, it involved me, so it’s exciting and it makes you feel good.”
The Lions traded Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Goff and three draft picks in late January, weeks after they hired Holmes and Campbell as GM and head coach, respectively.
Holmes, who attended pro day workouts for most of the draft’s top signal-callers, told the Free Press last week that “if there was a quarterback that was just like graded way higher over Penei, we would have had to strongly consider that.”
The Lions passed on Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Alabama’s Mac Jones to take Sewell. The Chicago Bears traded up to take Fields with the 11th pick, while Jones fell to the New England Patriots at No. 15.
“I know that Dan and Anthony Lynn will have the right system in place and they know Jared and they know what he does well,” Holmes told the Free Press. “I think that is a big part of it. And there’s a lot of things that people say, ‘Well, can Jared get back to what he used to be?’ That’s like, oh, I mean the guy, the past four years, he’s been in postseason three of the past four years and one was a Super Bowl appearance. And the last time you saw the guy play a game was in a divisional playoff game where he completed over 70% of his passes with a broken hand. So it’s like, I mean, I don’t get that part of it. But again, it is what it is.”
Goff went 42-27 in five seasons as a starter with the Rams. He helped L.A. reach a Super Bowl in 2018, when he threw for a career-high 4,688 yards, but fell out of favor the past two seasons with Rams coach Sean McVay.
Goff said he was “fired up” to see the Lions draft Sewell and fortify an offensive line that already includes Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker.
“Anytime you get help upfront that’s always good,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of solid guys up there right now and I think it’s shaping up to hopefully be one of the top groups in the league. They obviously have a lot of work to do and I know they know that, but there’s a lot of good players up there right now and as a quarterback that’s your best friend so I’m excited for it.”
And he said he has taken note of some who have counted him and the Lions out.
“I try not to pay much attention to media dialogue or anything like that,” Goff said. “But sure, there’s some things that build a little chip on your shoulder and not that I would say I feel like I’m forgotten, but there’s some things I’ve done in this league that I feel pretty good about and am excited to bring to the Lions.”