The Detroit Lions Should Not Draft a Quarterback in the First Round of the 2023 NFL Draft

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions Should Not Draft a Quarterback in the First Round of the 2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft

The Detroit Lions Should Not Draft a Quarterback in the First Round of the 2023 NFL Draft

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Cooper Neill/Getty Images

When the Detroit Lions traded for Jared Goff in January 2021, most thought that he was a bridge quarterback and would be replaced with the first chance they got. He struggled with a bad roster in 2021, but this season, it has been a completely different story. 

The Lions offense in 2022 has been great. They are seventh in total yards per game, eighth in passing yards, and sixth in points per game. For reference, the Lions are averaging more points per game than the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers.

Goff is having one of the better seasons in his career, all things considered. He looks more comfortable in the offense and appears to be having a lot of fun in the Lions’ culture. The offense is made to fit Goff’s skill set with a good ground game and play-action passes off it. He has done more than enough to warrant a longer leash in Detroit, and he is on the verge of getting them to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 

 

The Lions are poised to have two top 20 draft choices in the 2023 NFL Draft. As we head into Week 14 of the NFL season, the Lions are currently 5-7. Their pick would currently slot in at 15th in the draft order. They also possess the Los Angeles Rams’ first round draft choice via the Matthew Stafford trade. That pick is currently slotted at fifth following their Thursday Night Football win over the Las Vegas Raiders. 

The Lions should use those two picks on defensive players, not a quarterback. The Lions’ defense is last in total yards allowed per game and last in points per game allowed. The offense has been great, but the talent level on defense is simply not high enough to compete at an elite level. They seem to have hit on some defensive picks in the last three years. Jeff Okudah, Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, Malcolm Rodriguez, and Kerby Joseph have all shown tremendous promise in their short time in the NFL. However, they need another pillar or two on the defensive side of the ball to get themselves out of the cellar and into the playoffs.  

 

Draft Scenario:

Pick Five: Bryan Bresee, Defensive Line, Clemson

If Jalen Carter is off the board, I see the Lions going with Bryan Bresee. Is this a little early for Bresee? Possibly. However, the Lions need to get better in the teeth of their defense.  Alim McNeill has shown some promise, but with Bresee’s ability to create interior pressure in the passing game and disrupt the run game with penetration, Bresee would be a great pick for the Lions here at fifth overall. 

Pick 15: Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

Winning in the modern NFL requires defenses to be able to disrupt the passing attack via pressure. Aidan Hutchinson is looking like a star, but he doesn’t have a running mate off the edge to take some attention away. Jared Verse is a gritty and skilled player on the edge. Hutchinson, Bresee, and Verse would give the Lions a lot of top-tier talent to work with going forward. The facelift of the defensive line could be complete. 

Some folks will suggest that the Lions take a quarterback to replace Jared Goff. I understand why. Goff may not possess the top-end talent of a Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow, but he has the offense playing well. He is playing at a high enough level to warrant the opportunity to play out the rest of his contract with the Detroit Lions.

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