Detroit Lions GM hints at picking quarterback in 2021 NFL Draft

By Matt Fitzgerald
Jan 16, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers during a NFC Divisional Round playoff game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes was hired from the Los Angeles Rams’ front office, and the first big move he made was a blockbuster trade to land quarterback Jared Goff from LA.

However, that doesn’t necessarily preclude the Lions from taking a quarterback with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Read More: Winners, losers from blockbuster Matthew Stafford trade to Los Angeles Rams

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: ‘I like the crop of quarterbacks’

ESPN’s Field Yates documented what Holmes had to say regarding the strongest position groups in the 2021 draft class — and it’s notable that quarterbacks were among the first mentioned:

Given that Holmes was with the Rams for years and probably got to know Goff as well as any executive could have, he must’ve liked him enough to agree to a trade with Los Angeles that sent Matthew Stafford away.

On the other hand, Detroit did get some solid draft compensation in exchange for Stafford, which could be used to trade up and land a signal-caller in this year’s draft.

Related: 2021 NFL Mock Draft – Big trades, 5 QBs dominate NFL Draft

Will Detroit Lions select a QB in 2021 NFL Draft?

Will Detroit Lions select a QB in 2021 NFL Draft?
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This roster has so many positions of need, and while Goff could be a serviceable option, it appeared during the past two seasons that he wasn’t capable of being a franchise QB. Otherwise, the Rams probably wouldn’t have taken a massive dead money cap hit for Goff not to play for them going forward.

Maybe giving up on Goff ahead of his age-27 season seems foolish on the surface, considering he led the Rams to a Super Bowl berth not long ago.

As Holmes said, though, this 2021 QB draft class is loaded. Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance all have dual-threat capabilities and much more natural arm talent than Goff has. They have a lot more upside, and an argument can be made Rams coach Sean McVay got the absolute maximum out of Goff during their time together.

Here’s the potential problem: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are all free agents, leaving the cupboard pretty bare in the Lions’ receiving corps if none of them return. Golladay seems like a potential candidate to be franchise tagged, then traded for draft compensation.

Read More: 5 best Kenny Golladay landing spots if Detroit Lions tag and trade star receiver

Anyone who saw how bad Goff was the past two seasons probably wouldn’t want to play with him. In order to get Golladay to buy in and eventually sign a long-term extension in Detroit as the team’s No. 1 wideout, drafting a long-term successor to Stafford instead of hoping for Goff to pan out might be a more viable strategy.

Free agents also aren’t likely to go to the Lions at this point. Goff isn’t someone who’s proven capable of elevating the talent around him, whereas a potential franchise QB in the 2021 draft could. There’s also the chance for a rookie to sit and learn behind Goff at least to begin the 2021 season, and then take over whenever is appropriate.

Considering it wouldn’t cost any money against Detroit to trade Goff again, perhaps he could be part of a draft day deal if Holmes and the personnel department ultimately go with a QB in the first round.

Holmes didn’t have to speak publicly at all about this. While some could argue his words are taken out of context, he could’ve mentioned any position group on the open-ended question. That he named quarterbacks gives us an idea of how the Lions are looking at their future under Holmes and new coach Dan Campbell.

Read More: Detroit Lions draft picks: Top 2021 selections, ideal prospects to target after Matthew Stafford trade