It’s unlikely he’s there for them at No. 6 overall, but the Detroit Lions have scheduled a pre-draft visit with Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
The Detroit Lions are absolutely in the market for a quarterback in the draft later this month. It’s truly just a question of where they might take one, or what they might do get one they especially like.
Depending on what analysts you see, C.J. Stroud is either the No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback in this draft class. Falling out of the top-five is incredibly unlikely, as teams may fall over themselves trying to trade up to No. 3 with the Arizona Cardinals if he’s there. The Lions at No. 6 would seemingly have no chance to get him.
Being due diligence on both sides or something more, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported the Lions (and the Colts, who have the fourth overall pick) are on Stroud’s pre-draft visit itinerary this week.
For some people (raising my hand), Stroud is the No. 1 quarterback in this year’s draft class. During two seasons starting at Ohio State he had 85 touchdown passes, just 12 interceptions and a completion percentage north of 69 percent. A knock on him has been not running or using his legs as much as he could have, but in his final college game against Georgia (perhaps by necessity against a great defense) he showed a lot of mobility.
2023 NFL Draft: Could the Detroit Lions land C.J. Stroud?
The odds Stroud falls to No. 6 overall and into the Lions lap are so remote sports books wouldn’t post it. But it’s not completely out of the question, and general manager Brad Holmes noted the importance of doing thorough work on the top quarterbacks when you have a top-10 pick.
“It’s smart drafting business anyways, that when you’re picking in the top 10 that you know that quarterback class very thoroughly,” Holmes said.
The Lions clearly have their eye on their post-Jared Goff future under center, and if things go as planned they won’t have a top-10 overall pick again anytime soon. So a chance to draft someone like Stroud is not going to come easily, ideally, and it shouldn’t be turned away from this year based solely on perception he won’t be available at No. 6.
Of course, the Lions could be that team to trade up to No. 3 with the Cardinals if someone they really like is still on the board. Stroud would be among the options in that scenario, in a big swing to bring the quarterback of the future to Detroit.