Should the Detroit Lions draft a quarterback in the first round?

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Should the Detroit Lions draft a quarterback late in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft?

The Detroit Lions are penciled in picking second overall in the 2022 NFL Draft unless general manager Brad Holmes elects to trade down, in turn, adding a plethora of much-needed draft capital.

Usually, picking first or second guarantees you a franchise-altering quarterback, but that’s simply not the case in 2022.  Go figure, right?

The year after the Detroit Lions trade their franchise quarterback and the best signal-caller in history and is positioned at the top of the draft to secure a young replacement, there isn’t a worthy candidate coming out.  I swear, these are the types of things that only happen to the Lions.

If the Detroit Lions remain at no. 2 overall, they will be drafting an elite pass-rusher in either Aidan Hutchinson out of Michigan or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux.  Despite picking second overall, there is a chance that Detroit gets their pick of the two.  Many fans seemed disappointed that after Jacksonville beat Indianapolis in Week Eighteen, a loss to Green Bay would have secured the top overall pick.  Detroit beat the Packers and remained at two.

I’m not convinced that the Jaguars will be selecting either of these pass-rushers, knowing they need to protect their investment at quarterback.  I expect the Jaguars to take Evan Neal out of Alabama, leaving Detroit to pick between Thibodeaux or Hutchinson.

Should the Detroit Lions consider drafting a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft?

Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff finished the season strong after an atrocious first twelve weeks.  There is no doubt that Goff will be the starting quarterback next season, but beyond that is in serious doubt.

Goff cap hit heading into next season sits at $31.1 million, but the deal carries an elevated dead cap number of $30.5 million.  That’s simple; the Lions are not moving on from Goff next year.

Following next season though, Goff’s dead cap number significantly decreases to $10 million, which is something the organization can stomach.  Trading or releasing Goff following the 2022 season will save the organization just over $20 million.

So, with no franchise-caliber quarterback expected at the top of the draft, should the Detroit Lions consider drafting a signal-caller with the draft pick obtained from the Los Angeles Rams in the deal that sent Matthew Stafford to the west coast?

You could make the case, but I’d prefer to see the organization go in a different direction.

I understand that chances are there is a franchise quarterback in this draft, but identifying who that is becomes the more significant challenge.  It seems in every draft, organizations can find a Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, or Dak Prescott, but for each of those diamond in the rough players, there are seemingly 100 swing and misses.

Every draft, there is a signal-caller that quickly climbs; last year, it was Trey Lance who the 49ers selected third overall.  I expect that player to be Kenny Pickett in 2022.  I could see Pickett going as high as three to Houston unless the Texans somehow resolve the Deshaun Watson saga.  If not third overall, perhaps fifth to the Giants, or sixth to the Panthers.  The Giants also hold the seventh overall pick, and I simply don’t see Pickett falling further than that.

The next quarterback likely chosen is Matt Corral out of Ole Miss.  I could see Corral landing in Atlanta eighth overall or Denver, who will pick ninth.  If neither elect to take a quarterback, I don’t see Corral getting past Washington at no. 11.

That leaves the Detroit Lions deciding between likely Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, Liberty’s Malik Willis, or taking a flier on Sam Howell.  Ironically, two of these three will be on Detroit’s sideline when they coach the Senior Bowl.  Dan Campbell and company will get an up-close look at Willis and Howell, along with Bailey Zappe out of Western Kentucky.

Heading into this season, Howell had been the consensus number one pick, but following a rough senior season at North Carolina, his stock vastly fell.  Howell lost a plethora of weapons to the NFL Draft last season, which didn’t help his cause in 2021, but he didn’t look like the same quarterback either.

The benefit for the Detroit Lions selecting a quarterback in the first round is the fifth-year option on first-round rookie contracts.  If the organization hits a home run with a quarterback, they will get said player on a cheap deal for an extra year.  That alone doesn’t justify selecting a quarterback just to take a young quarterback and perhaps pass on players like Drake London, Amhad Gardner, Jahan Dotson, Treylon Burks, or Chris Olave.

The perfect 3-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft 1.0. dark. Next

Again, I’d prefer the Lions forget about taking a quarterback in 2022 and hope to secure either Bryce Young or CJ Stroud in 2023.