In the event that plays out, the Lions could be looking at another high draft pick during the 2023 offseason. With a new season and new hope set to take precedence, mock drafts are about to hit the back burner for a while.
With that in mind, Bleacher Report took one last look at putting together a mock draft prior to the 2022 season. Within, they have the Lions going through more bumpy times on the field this year, but reaping the rewards in the form of a top pick.
The scouting staff for the site took a look at making their picks for next year, and had the Lions placing with the third-overall selection. In that spot, the team’s reward was a quarterback, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.
As the site wrote, Stroud might well be the top quarterback taken, but in this mock, his slide to the third pick is a bonus for Detroit.
“The Lions benefit by getting the future face of the franchise without being the worst team in professional football. Still, this slotting will be a disappointment. The team plays hard for head coach Dan Campbell, and improvement in the overall record should be seen this fall. The chance to land Stroud provides a silver (and Honolulu) blue lining if things don’t go exactly as planned,” the piece said.
The hope for Lions fans, of course, is that the team improves and doesn’t have to pick high again. With another selection from Los Angeles, Detroit could still move up the board if they want a quarterback next year.
At this point, many don’t see the team as having to wait if they are bad enough for another top-five pick. The road to finding out whether that will be the case begins this week.
Stroud’s Career Stats & Highlights
Early on, Stroud has taken on the look of one of the best passers in a stout 2023 class of quarterbacks. His first year at Ohio State was a banner season in which Stroud threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Here’s a look at some of Stroud’s top highlights from the 2021 season on the field:
A question Stroud will have to overcome this season and into the future? The failure of Buckeye quarterbacks in the NFL. Few have achieved major success in the league, but there’s always time for a first. Stroud could well be that player with his strong arm and escapability.
His first game of the 2022 season was a 223 yard, two touchdown performance against Notre Dame, so it’s a good start for Stroud in what figures to be a major season for the quarterback.
2023 Quarterback Class Looks Loaded
As weak as the 2022 quarterback class seemed on the outset, the 2023 class could prove to be just the polar opposite by the time next spring rolls around.
From Alabama’s Bryce Young to Stroud, there will be no shortage of elite players that could choose to come out, which means the Lions could have a better shot at finding their quarterback of the future next year rather than this season. Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are a few more names coming into focus.
Young claimed the Heisman Trophy for his work in the 2021-22 season, and only figures to improve as a passer and a player next year. Already, there’s a notion that he could be good enough to be a shoo-in for the top overall pick in 2023. Here’s a look at how the debate has already centered on his candidacy for the top selection in 2023 on ESPN:
Whether or not the Lions will be bad enough in 2022 to land a top pick remains to be seen. The team showed signs of promise amid a losing year in 2021, and with more improvements, could win a few more games. The point stands that the quarterback class figures to be more well-rounded this coming year
At this point, pundits still see the Lions as bad enough ahead of a new season to land a top quarterback in Stroud. Now, the focus will be on seeing how this plays out the rest of the way.
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