2021 NFL Draft: 5 quarterbacks that could make sense for Detroit Lions
ALLEN PARK – It’s time to get acquainted with five quarterbacks that could make sense for the Detroit Lions in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Matthew Stafford, 32, is heading into another offseason filled with questions about his future in Detroit. Stafford started 16 games last season despite injuries to his thumb, rib cartilage and ankle from his pitching hand. The Lions quarterback remains under contract until 2023, but this final season is a voidable deal, giving both sides flexibility. Stafford stayed mom about her future in Detroit, and the team can’t do much without a permanent head coach or general manager.
Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp was asked about Stafford’s future after firing Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, to which she replied: “We’ll see what the new coach has to say.”
Darrell Bevell, the team’s interim coach and candidate for the full-time job, has said he would like Stafford to be his quarterback next year if he gets the job. Detroit almost finished its first round of head coach interviews candidates, with Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles reportedly in pencil for Friday.
Stafford endured an inconsistent season while battling injury, not to mention star wide receiver Kenny Golladay missing for 10 games. The veteran shooter still threw for 4,084 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Stafford stepped up the assault after Patricia was fired, putting on a few vintage performances along the way.
“I love Matthew Stafford. I think he’s a hell of a quarterback, ”Bevell said. “He’s in the top group in the league when it comes to that position. I think this is the most important position in the field. If you don’t have one of these guys, you’re going to struggle for a long time. I think he’s very, very good, and I think he’s been in that position for a long time. From my perspective, it’s been a great two years working with him, and I would love to continue that way.
That said, it’s best to remember that it’s not always next year when it comes to the quarterback position. Stafford remains very good at what he does and is under the control of the team for a few seasons. The once-record quarterback contract now ranks 13th among those in office.
Mock NFL Draft Rally: Receivers, EDGE rushers popular choice for Detroit Lions
See below for five quarterbacks to watch ahead of the April draft, with a few options for the No.7 pick and subsequent rounds in mind:
Justin Fields, QB, State of Ohio
When Justin Fields clicks it really looks like the future starting NFL quarterback. It’s pretty obvious Fields was in pain during the National Championship game. But the week before? Fields put the Buckeyes on their backs, throwing for 385 yards with six touchdowns in the resounding semifinal victory over Clemson. The 6-foot-3 quarterback finished seventh in the Heisman vote while throwing for 2,100 yards with 22 touchdowns and six picks in eight games. Fields is everywhere in the first screenings, but firmly in the first round and vying to be the QB2 of this class behind Trevor Lawrence.
Fields has the strength in arms to stretch defenses and mobility to make them pay off when cover slumps. His completion percentage has reached 70.2% this season, and the No. 1 rookie in the 2018 class continues to show signs of growth. It’s easy to imagine Fields leading an aggressive vertical attack to the next level, and soon. He’s a Day 1 prospect who could very well be off the board by the time it comes to Detroit. Fields is off the table at No.15 New England in ESPN’s most recent simulation.
Trey Lance, QB, State of North Dakota
It’s easy to overlook Trey Lance during bowl season thanks to the state of North Dakota as a state of North Dakota. The sophomore third year arrives at 6-foot-2, 226 pounds but only played one game last season due to the pandemic. ESPN reports the runner-up learned to play quarterback while training with his former Canadian Football League corner dad (Carlton Lance). Lance is another legitimate prospect for the North Dakota State quarterback, joining recent rookies Easton Stick and Carson Wentz.
Lance finds his name among the Day 1 prospects thanks to his remarkable 2019, leading the Bison to an unbeaten FCS national championship (16-0). He threw for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and no interceptions in 287 attempts. Lance added 1,100 yards and 14 rushing points, winning the Walter Payton award for the FCS’s best offensive player. ESPN fired Lance from the Washington boardroom at No.19.
“This is an unprecedented assessment due to his immense talent with such meager experience, only playing his freshman season in a red shirt (at an All-American level) plus a demo game (mixed results ) last Saturday”, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in October. “And all of his matches have come against the FCS competition. Several needy quarterback teams are already sold on his raw talent, and it will be up to Lance to convince NFL makers throughout the draft process that his cap as a quarterback makes him an investment. clever. “
Kyle Trask, QB, Florida
Desmond Ridder and Kenny Pickett both chose to go back to school in 2021, helping Kyle Trask’s stock a bit. Trask is an intriguing prospect, officially declaring for the project at the end of last month.
Trask set school records for passing yards and touchdowns last season, finishing fourth in the Heisman vote. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback had 68.9% of his passes for 4,283 yards with 43 scores and just eight interceptions in 12 games. Don’t expect the big man to take off and run too often. He’s a pocket passer whose size probably allowed him to read more on the court at the college level. Trask’s arm strength will remain under the microscope before the draw, especially when paired with his lack of mobility. It’s hard to ignore his level of production last season and the number of important throws he made, though. Right now he’s a developing quarterback who could cost a pretty dime based on April’s pick.
“The Florida QB emerged midway through the 2020 season with five straight games of passing scores over 85.0 (weeks 10-14) and consistently showed their accuracy while hitting all those wheel roads, seams. and fades that his head trainer composed. ” Pro Football Focus writes. “(Florida coach Dan) Mullen helped Trask go from one of the worst important throwing ratios to a game worthy of turnover in 2019 (9:22) to one of the best in 2020 (41:14). “
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Zach Wilson could be there for the Lions at No.7, but he is laughed at until No.4 at the start. Wilson’s stock has skyrocketed with their level of play in 2020, hitting 73.5% of their passes for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions. The junior added 10 rushing points while leading BYU to an 11-1 season.
Wilson’s ball placement and some of the tight throws he makes while running should make GMs and scouts salivate. It has been said on this site, but it has to be said again, he has a little Stafford in him when he lets this thing tear. PFF reports Wilson lined up under center for 18% of his shots for 2020, so he’s familiar with the gun and the line.
“The strength of Wilson’s arms offers him various conveniences”, PFF writes. “Not that Wilson can’t deal quickly enough at the NFL level, but he can throw into places that most defenses don’t deem worthy of stationing a defenseman on patrol. When the ball was placed on the right hash, Wilson threw 29 times from within 10 yards of the left pocket sideline, with a passing score of 90.5.
“It’s arm strength that NFL teams covet. Wilson has it. Now we’ll see if he can move up to the league as easily as (Bengals quarterback Joe) Burrow apparently did before his injury cut off his rookie season.
Jamie Newman, QB, GA (transfer from Wake Forest)
Don’t sleep on Jamie Newman despite the odd end of his career amid the tough coronavirus season. Newman showed some serious flashes at Wake Forest, then moved to Georgia as a graduate transfer but withdrew from the 2020 campaign.
Newman will have the chance to take the field at this year’s Senior Bowl and should have his fair share of eyes when he does. The 6-foot-4 quarterback amassed 2,868 yards with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a junior at Wake Forest. Newman added 574 yards and six rushing runs, leading the Demon Deacons to an 8-5 record. He was second in offensive yards per game in the conference and is blessed with desirable size and intriguing traits.
Newman looks like a mid-to-late pick in this year’s quarterback class at best. Its precision, or even more so its consistency with it, left a lot to be desired at this point. Still, it’s hard to ignore these flashes of arm strength and natural ability to play. Newman isn’t going to impress with his speed, but he has shown a knack for knowing how to gain extra ground when needed. This mysterious prospect has shown some serious flashes and is at the top of any list of intriguing prospects directed at Mobile. Newman is likely to need some time, which isn’t a terrible route with Stafford, Daniel and even David Blough under the team’s control.