Lions Host Virtual Interview With Top Quarterback Prospect

Justin Herbert

Getty Justin Herbert throws a pass at the NFL Combine.

Picking a quarterback doesn’t figure to be on the forefront of the plan for the Detroit Lions early in the NFL Draft, but that hasn’t stopped the team from doing their diligence in the meantime.

The Lions are reportedly one of the teams that have conducted a virtual interview with Oregon’s Justin Herbert in recent days. Herbert has been surging up the draft board lately, and plenty of teams are looking at him highly in the NFL Draft.

The report on Herbert chatting with Detroit was first revealed by the NFL Network, and reporter Mike Garafolo explained what the Lions could be thinking as it relates to discussing the move.

Garafolo explained:

“Let me add a name, Justin Herbert as well. The Lions now conducting multiple teleconference interviews within the last couple of days, last couple of weeks here as they prepare for the draft at No. 3 which is to me, the real interesting, pivotal point of the draft. Because if it goes Joe Burrow 1 and Chase Young 2 as many expect, No. 3 can go in a number of directions,” he said. “Are they creating some smoke here to get teams to move up because they’d like to slide back, pick up some draft capital and then get a defensive player a couple of slots back after trading with say, Miami or the Chargers? Very possible, but there’s also been that chatter that at some point they have to move on from Matthew Stafford. Could this be part of that process? I find it extremely intriguing as we get closer to the draft.”

The Lions have said they will not move on from Matthew Stafford and also signed Chase Daniel to be their primary backup this offseason, and he seems motivated to join the team. What does this mean for the rumors? The Lions could be doing their diligence in order to perhaps motivate folks to pitch offers, but could also be getting a feel for the quarterback position this year just in case they want to make a dramatic move.

Such a move seems unlikely, but the Lions are at least doing their homework heading into the draft.

Justin Herbert Stats

Herbert has enjoyed a solid career with the Oregon Ducks, putting up 1,293 passing yards, 95 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Herbert is seen as one of the best pro style quarterbacks set to come out in the 2020 NFL Draft, with a strong arm and a solid ability to read defenses. Herbert’s completion percentage in college was 64% while he was competing with the Ducks.

Lions Have Multiple 2020 Draft Picks

Detroit has traded away a pick, but also acquired a few selections within their move to trade Darius Slay. Now that the Lions have those picks, and have gained a selection in their deal for Duron Harmon, the Lions are now up to 9 selections for this year’s draft, including an extra third rounder.

The Lions got back a seventh round selection in the Harmon trade, but did deal away a fifth round pick. They got back a fifth round selection in the move to trade for Slay.

This could merely be a start for the Lions, however. If the team is able to trade back from the No. 3 selection, this haul might only improve in the future. Such a move to add more picks could allow the team to add multiple difference makers in multiple rounds.

Perhaps the best way to do this is by drumming up interest in the pick by doing diligence at quarterback.

Bob Quinn Comments About Matthew Stafford Trade Rumors

Matthew Stafford’s future has been open to interpretation with earlier rumors swirling that the team could draft someone else or move on entirely. General manager Bob Quinn, however, joined SiriusXM NFL Radio a few months ago and explained why none of that could be the case at all.

“I’m totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford’s our quarterback. He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course. He’s pretty much at full health right now. Talked to him about 10 days ago,” Quinn said in the interview. “He was in the office so he’s feeling great. He’s in a good mindset, he’s excited. Obviously he’s a competitor so to miss half the season was hard on him. But he did a great job with our backup quarterbacks.”

Specifically, Quinn admitted he liked watching Stafford work with the backups and prepare them. That let him know the team is in good hands moving forward.

“Just behind the scenes, seeing him in a different light,” he said. “Since I’ve been there he’s been at every practice and every game. To see him in coach mode was pretty cool to see. He really cares about not only our team and his teammates and his leadership, really helping those other quarterbacks learn our system on the fly when he went down.”

That leads Quinn to feel positively about Stafford moving forward and the impact he might have on the team.

“I feel great about Matthew. He’s going to come back strong and we’re ready to go for next year,” he said.

These quotes would seem to throw cold water on the notion that the Lions would draft a quarterback early or decide to deal Stafford this offseason, a couple of things that have been rumored so far.

Still, the Lions are apparently going to do their diligence as it relates to the quarterback position and Herbert specifically.

READ NEXT: Lions Should Have Astronomical No. 3 Pick Price Former NFL GM Says

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