The prevailing narrative for many in the media ahead of the NFL draft with regards to the Detroit Lions has been the team’s presumed bad need for a quarterback.
It’s been assumed by analysts that the team would want to gamble on a quarterback pick early seeing as they may not be committed long-term to Jared Goff. For all his warts in the eyes of many, though, Goff is a solid quarterback that might be better than some people think. That’s a sentiment shared by plenty, including ESPN analyst and former wideout Keyshawn Johnson.
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Johnson was on an episode of NFL Live on Friday, April 22 and hammered home his take on why Detroit should stick with Goff. As he explained, the spot might not be a huge need thanks to Goff’s presence in the Motor City.
“I think in terms of what they need, they need everything. They don’t need a quarterback. They’ve got a quarterback in Jared Goff,” Johnson said. “Jared Goff gets a bad rap for the way it all ended in Los Angeles for him. He took the team to a Super Bowl, multiple playoff appearances, the Pro Bowl for whatever it’s worth, $100 million dollar contract. The Lions got a lot of draft picks. Use them to build a roster. A quarterback is the least of your worries. I think they’re smart enough to understand that and know that. Surround him with great talent, give him the opportunity to succeed. We saw Jared Goff take a team to a Super Bowl in Los Angeles when he had talent around him. So he can play. It would be a mistake to take any quarterback in this draft in the first-round and replace Jared Goff.”
As a result, Johnson believes there is no question the Lions should avoid this pick because of the questions at quarterback in this impending draft.
“Jared Goff, simple and plain, is better than every quarterback in this draft right now,” Johnson said.
Consider the gauntlet effectively laid down by Johnson, who wants to see the Lions sticking with Goff. To that end, he may be right. The 2022 class at the position has plenty of questions, not the least of which is whether any players are worth an early commitment.
According to Johnson, that answer is a resounding no for 2022.
Lions Pushed to Target 2023 Quarterbacks
What should the Lions do at the position? Many believe wait for 2023. Recently, PFF along with writer Michael Renner took an honest look at breaking down top needs for every team in the 2022 offseason, and whether those needs come within free agency or the draft. Unsurprisingly, quarterback was the choice for Detroit, but interestingly enough, not for the 2022 offseason. Renner picked the need out for the 2023 draft, a time he thinks would be perfect for Detroit to have a top pick and perhaps a shot at landing Alabama signal caller Bryce Young.
Renner wrote that “instead of forcing someone at No. 2 overall, though, they should realize they are still going to be in a rough spot as a roster next year.” He advocates for the team moving on from Jared Goff and trying to land the top pick in 2023 as an avenue to land Young.
The Lions will be trying to improve their roster for 2022 and don’t seem destined to move on from Goff whatsoever yet, but the idea is an interesting one as it relates to not forcing a quarterback and waiting things out. An important variable to remember is Detroit has a pair of first-round picks in 2023 as well, which could allow the team a chance to move around in the draft if they wish, or give them a better shot at securing an elite quarterback of some kind.
With multiple big needs, the Lions could be better served to patch other holes in 2022 and wait for 2023 to solve another roster question mark looming. To that end, Renner’s idea makes a lot of sense, especially with Goff likely a slam-dunk to be Detroit’s quarterback this year.
Goff Not Sweating Lions’ Quarterback Decision
Regardless of what happens, Goff himself isn’t going to be worrying about what’s going on or pondering what to do if the team does take a quarterback. As he explained when meeting with the media on Thursday, April 21, he has a solid relationship with the Detroit brass and isn’t concerned about the future.
“You know whatever it is, I trust those guys. They’ve expressed a lot of confidence in me and feel good about where I’m at and where I’m at with them and where we’re headed. Yeah, I’m excited about it, but if anything were to happen there’s no concern and I trust those guys upstairs,” Goff told the media.
While Goff might not be the most experienced veteran leader, he isn’t averse to doing it, either.
“I don’t know. Yeah, maybe. I mean I’ve always liked helping younger guys. I mean I have no idea. I’ve never been in that position but I’m sure I would be the same guy I am and be helpful if I felt like it,” Goff joked.
Whether or not Goff gets a new player to mentor, most folks are still realizing he is the best option for the team in 2022. Obviously, that’s something Johnson would very much agree with.