NFL Network’s Jeremiah slots Lions a QB in latest mock draft

Detroit News

Whether you are firmly convinced Jared Goff is the answer for the Detroit Lions at quarterback or you think there’s potential to land a long-term upgrade in the upcoming draft, there’s a case to be made that it’s never a bad idea to take an occasional swing at the most important position on the field.

In his latest mock draft, NFL Network analyst and former scouting guru Daniel Jeremiah has the Lions doing just that with the team’s second first-round pick, snagging Florida’s high-ceiling, dual-threat Anthony Richardson.

“The Lions have the perfect situation for Richardson as he enters the league,” Jeremiah writes. “He can sit behind Jared Goff for at least a year and then provide the rewards that come from building a team around a quarterback playing on his rookie contract.”

Richardson has immense physical gifts, which he should put on full display at the league’s scouting combine in Indianapolis next week. But the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder is also in need of some significant development before he could be considered a reliable NFL starter.

Shrugging off a sluggish start with the Gators this past season, Richardson threw for 2,126 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in the final nine games. The biggest concern remains his accuracy. For the season, he completed just 53.8% of his throws, slightly below the 54.7% for his collegiate career.

With his feet, Richardson is always a threat to do additional damage. He gained another 654 yards on the ground in 2022, scoring nine times.

Drafting Richardson could give the Lions roster flexibility going forward, particularly with Goff in line for a massive contract extension. His current pact, which pays him nearly $26 million this season, with a $31 million cap figure, expires at the end of the 2024 season.

As for Detroit’s earlier first-round choice, No. 6 in the order, Jeremiah has the team selecting Clemson edge defender Myles Murphy.

“Aidan Hutchinson was a home-run pick last year, and fellow rookie James Houston IV was very productive in limited playing time,” Jeremiah writes. “Murphy would give the Lions three outstanding young edge rushers.”

Murphy is the third edge rusher off the board in the mock, behind Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson (No. 3 to Arizona) and Alabama’s Will Anderson (No. 5 to Seattle).

Murphy is a popular early projection for the Lions, as ESPN’s Todd McShay also recently slotted the Lions the Clemson standout in a mock draft. Possessing an excellent frame for the position, at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, Murphy uses his size to his advantage as a dominant run defender, something the Lions could use at the position. Turning 21 years old in January, he’s still a work in progress as a pass rusher, but he managed to tally 14.5 sacks and 76 total pressures in the past two seasons for the Tigers.

In addition to the returning names Jeremiah mentioned, the Lions have other options at edge rusher on the roster, including veterans Charles Harris and Romeo Okwara, as well as versatile 2022 draft pick Josh Paschal. Still, with Harris and Okwara entering the final years of their contracts, and both potential cap casualties this offseason, adding more talent at the position wouldn’t hurt.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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