Pro Football Focus did a quarterbacks-only 2023 mock draft, and the Detroit Lions indeed came out with a potential successor to Jared Goff.
The idea of the Detroit Lions drafting a quarterback this year is definitely out there, and after the simple re-signing of backup Nate Sudfeld it’s creeping toward being a virtual certainty. It wouldn’t have to be a first-round pick to be the right option, but that possibility does exist.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus recently did a 2023 quarterback mock draft, as in quarterbacks-only to various teams in various actual spots and draft rounds. The usual suspects kick it off (CJ Stroud No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers, Bryce Young No. 2 overall to the Houston Texans). Then it gets a little interesting, with Will Levis to the Indianapolis Colts fourth overall, Anthony Richardson to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 and Hendon Hooker to the Denver Broncos at No. 68.
Detroit Lions get potential future starter in PFF quarterback mock
And at No. 81 in the mock, with their third-round pick, the Lions get a potential quarterback of the future.
Stanford’s Tanner McKee.
Here’s some of what Renner wrote about the pick:
The big question will be what to do at quarterback. On one hand, Jared Goff is only 29 years old and had a tremendous bounce-back season in Year 2 with the Lions. On the other hand, we’ve seen this story play out before with Goff and the Rams (and his cap hits are more than $30 million in each of the next two years).
McKee would make sense for the Lions in that he plays the position similarly to Goff and shouldn’t have much of a learning curve with the NFL readiness he showed at Stanford. He is not only a cheap insurance option this season, but he’ll also be entering the vaunted Year 3 of his rookie deal when Goff’s contract is set to expire.
The notion that McKee plays similarly to Goff isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. He is definitely not overly mobile and struggled when pressured heavily (like Goff), at 6-foot-6 and 231 pounds, but he did have six rushing touchdowns over his two season starting at Stanford.
McKee’s pure arm strength is notable though, and it’s legitimately worth wondering if he’ll be a better NFL quarterback than he was a college signal caller. It’s impossible to overstate how lackluster the supporting cast was around him at Stanford compared to his fellow quarterback prospects, outside of fellow 2023 draft prospect wide receiver Michael Wilson.
The Lions don’t need a rookie to come in and push to start under center this year. So McKee is a potential Day 2 draft target for them, with an eye on the post-Goff future.