The Detroit Lions are switching quarterbacks for 2021, going from Matthew Stafford to Jared Goff, but it won’t preclude them from taking a signal-caller early in this year’s NFL draft.
General manager Brad Holmes, who is not yet allowed to discuss the Stafford-Goff trade until it can become official when the new league year begins on March 17, said Tuesday he likes what he sees from this quarterback draft class.
“The quarterback position in general, what’s cool about this year is that they’re in all different flavors,” Holmes said. “You have a guy that can actually do it all, do it from the pocket, do it with his legs. You have another guy that probably a little bit more does it with his legs, a little bit more of being creative. There’s another guy probably does it more from the pocket.
“So all the different flavors makes it very, very intriguing in terms of when you’re looking across the whole scope of the class of these quarterbacks.”
Holmes mentioned multiple times during his Tuesday news conference that he liked this draft class of quarterbacks, which is headlined by Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and BYU’s Zach Wilson.
And when you’re picking in the top 10, he said, you can’t overlook any position. That includes a spot undergoing major change for Detroit. Goff will have a salary-cap hit of $28.15 million in 2021 and $26.15 million for 2022, according to OverTheCap.com. Of course, the Lions can create more space if they restructure Goff’s contract, which has a little over $25 million in base salary, once he officially becomes part of the franchise. But it’s unknown whether they will do that.
Plus, Stafford will count as $19 million in dead money on this year’s cap for Detroit.
What does that have to do with drafting a quarterback at No. 7? It might depend on how the team views Goff in the long term — something it hasn’t been allowed to publicly address yet — and what it thinks of the quarterbacks in this class.
“When you’re picking in the top 10, I don’t think you can ignore, and I think it’s smart drafting business anyways, when you’re picking in the top 10, that you make sure you know that quarterback class very thoroughly,” Holmes said.
Holmes added that when picking in the top 10, you must know the top prospects at every position because of the potential level of talent. He said he knows the team needs starters and depth at multiple positions, some of which could be addressed at No. 7.
“There are some pieces that we definitely need to add,” Holmes said. “We can start with the defensive side of the ball. We definitely need some more depth. We will need starters at certain places, so those are things that we are going through.”
On offense, Holmes said he likes what the Lions have on the offensive line. but they need depth. The receiver room — whether they use a franchise tag on Kenny Golladay or not — needs to be overhauled. All of this does tie in to a quarterback, leading to a multitude of decisions for Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell to make as they evaluate what they need to do in free agency and the draft, starting with the No. 7 pick.