A big debate is currently raging about whether or not the Detroit Lions need to select a quarterback in the 2022 NFL draft, and one of the preeminent league analysts has left no doubt where he stands on the matter.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has long been seen as the gold standard in the league in terms of evaluation, and his word is good when it comes to prospects and draft decisions. Interestingly enough, Kiper was asked where he thinks the Lions should go at quarterback and provided a candid answer many fans might not appreciate.
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On a conference call, Kiper admitted that from where he sits, the Lions don’t have to go quarterback in the draft with their first pick. In fact, he doesn’t think the team should do something like that at all. Justin Rogers of the Detroit News was on the call and tweeted about Kiper’s commentary on the matter:
“Mel Kiper doesn’t think the Lions should draft a quarterback at No. 2, based on his own rankings and talking to other NFL decision-makers. Kiper follows up a couple questions later saying he could see Willis going to Carolina, Seattle, or Atlanta because of the talent,” Rogers wrote in a tweet.
In recent mocks, Kiper has stuck to the notion that the Lions could take a quarterback with the 32nd overall pick. Lately, he’s had the team gambling for Ole Miss signal caller Matt Corral at that spot. Kiper does think the position is a need, but he clearly isn’t sure with these words that there is a value there for the team.
Wills Enjoyed Solid Pro Day at Liberty University
The Willis buzz for Lions fans has never been stronger thanks to his work on the field during the Liberty pro day. After a solid NFL combine, many were waiting to see what would happen with Willis at the event on campus. Safe to say that the quarterback passed the experience with flying colors given the fact that he showed off his maneuverability as well as his strong arm and great leadership. From the start of the pro day until the finish, folks were buzzing about the potential for Willis to go high in the draft and it was due to some of the outstanding plays he was able to make during the event. Perhaps the best play overall was when Willis rolled out and on the run hit a huge deep ball, showcasing his ability to change direction as well as uncork a deep pass:
It wasn’t just about Willis, though. As excited as the quarterback was for himself, he also stayed grounded by having his family there to celebrate his success. That just serves to prove what a humble kid he is in the end:
It was a great day for Willis as a whole, and the quarterback may have not only made himself some more fans, but some money as well. The Lions had to be all-eyes to this playing out regardless of what Kiper thinks.
Lions Don’t Have to Force Drafting Quarterback
Kiper is not wrong to push the idea that the Lions don’t have to force a quarterback. The team has a qualty place holder in Jared Goff, as well as a guy who could very well play his way into the quarterback of the future. Who could the Lions look at in the draft for quarterback in 2022 if they choose? There are plenty of options for the team, and that’s especially true after the Senior Bowl as well as the NFL combine. During the pre-draft process, the Lions have seen the likes of Sam Howell, Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder excel as well as get mocked to them in the process. Any of those players could be picks for the team, and while some make more sense than others, the Lions could conceivably roll the dice on one of these names later on if they are happy with how they can develop. With Tim Boyle back in the fold as backup, the Lions could select one of these players and keep him as a third quarterback for this year even after re-signing David Blough.
Goff’s presence ends up helping the Lions in a big way. The team can select a quarterback if they find one they like and believe in, but they don’t have to make a sudden move and pick a player they aren’t sure about for the future. Detroit can also wait and see who might fall before deciding to make a play at the position.
To that end, Kiper’s take is not surprising. It might be frustrating to some fans who crave a dynamic young signal caller, but it’s clear that the experts aren’t sure anyone is worth the risk so early on.
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