Analyst Describes Best Case for a ‘Slam-Dunk’ Lions’ 2023 Draft Class

Hendon Hooker

Getty Hendon Hooker fires a pass for Tennessee in 2022.

With a pair of picks in the first-round of the 2023 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions have a chance to enjoy one of the best potential draft hauls the franchise has had in recent memory.

How will the Lions find a way to make this happen, though? Ahead of the draft, some ideas have been shared about what would constitute a best-case and a worst-case scenario for the team.

Pro Football Focus analyst Jim Wyman put together a list of every situaiton like this across the league, and when it came to the Lions, it wasn’t a surprise to see quarterback part of the discussion.

“Jared Goff has played well enough to have the Lions in a position to compete for a division title in 2023, so if they’re able to land the best player available at No. 6 and a future franchise quarterback at No. 18, this will have the makings of a slam-dunk draft class,” he wrote.

In terms of the worst-case scenario for the team during the draft, Wyman wrote that he believes it would involve selecting a quarterback within the top-six this year. The reason for that? It might cost the Lions a potential blue-chip player on defense that isn’t likely to be found further down the board in Wyman’s mind.

Clearly, if the Lions can get a value at the position, they might come out ahead at quarterback while also adding a defender with their earlier selection. That might only be the case if the team can land someone with selection 18 rather than selection six when all is said and done.

Such a scenario is seen as a best-case outcome for the team in what Wyman thinks would be a slam-dunk draft.

Lions Likely to Consider Quarterback Market

At quarterback, the Lions will have some decisions to make, and Levis is not a name that has come up much for the team in the process even though this is the case.

Detroit hasn’t had much contact with Levis in the pre-draft process, and whether that’s telling or not for the actual draft remains to be seen. The point does stand, though, that the team could be looking for a quarterback.

The Lions have struggled developing young quarterbacks, and it’s a fact that their general manager Brad Holmes has discussed openly since the offseason began. With this in mind, it seems wise to predict the Lions will spend a draft pick on the position this year eventually.

Even with that said, Jared Goff is entrenched as the starter, and isn’t going anywhere. Goff’s play down the stretch when he would finish with 29 touchdowns and 4,438 yards passing as well as a 2023 Pro Bowl birth was good enough to solidify his role with the team.

Still, with free agent Nate Sudfeld back in the mix as his backup, and an offer apparently still on the table for Teddy Bridgewater, the Lions could be hunting for some upside behind Goff. They could also elect to look for a younger player to develop behind Goff for the future, as Campbell has alluded to.

So far in the process, the Lions have done most of their homework on Hendon Hooker, an electric talent from Tennessee. Hooker sustained an ACL injury late in the 2022 season, but looked good enough to post 3,135 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in addition to 430 rushing yards and five touchdowns before injury, showing how dynamic he could be.

In addition to Hooker, the Lions have gotten closer looks at Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, who figures to be one of the first quarterbacks taken. They have also showed their interest in Fresno State’s Jake Haener, who could be a day-three option at the position. Many have also affirmed that the Lions should be looking at players like Houston’s Clayton Tune as well as Stanford’s Tanner McKee in the middle-rounds.

Landing an elite defensive prospect and perhaps a quarterback could go a long way toward helping the Lions for their future.

Brad Holmes Discusses Lions’ Plan at Quarterback

What does the team think of making a hypothetical addition at the position? It’s something that could certainly be on the table, and Detroit has done their homework prior to the draft.

After speaking earlier this offseason and vowing to approach the quarterback room differently, Holmes once again discussed the fact that the team has done their diligence at the position when speaking with the media on Thursday, April 20. With his words, Holmes seemed to indicate that another move could be in the hopper.

“We’re doing the best we can. You don’t have the absolute crystal ball. You just have to do all the research. We brought some quarterbacks in and did our just due on them. Like I’ve been saying, when you’re picking in the top 10, you want to make sure you’re thorough on the quarterback market. I believe we have done that. We have good idea. There’s always going to be a surprise on draft night, that’s what makes it fun. But we’ll definitely be prepared. Got an idea, but never know if a curveball might be thrown,” Holmes told the media.

That sure sounds like a guy who would be interested in adding a quarterback if the opportunity presented itself with the right player. The Lions may already have a “strong offer” out to Teddy Bridgewater. They could draft a player as well fairly early, or even come day three.

Either way, it feels like there will be more resolution as it relates to quarterback this week. Detroit’s draft could become a potential home-run assuming the team can get value at the position further down the board.

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