Prospect: Brett Rypien
Position / School: Quarterback / Boise State
Height / Weight: 6-2 , 210
2018 Statistics: 13 games played, 3,705 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 67.0 % completion
Draft Projection: 6th round – FA
Since 2016, the Lions have selected a quarterback in the sixth round twice, and they could be looking for another young signal caller at the back end of the draft this year. Behind starter Matthew Stafford, the Lions have a pair of uninspiring backup candidates in Tom Savage and and Connor Cook. They will be in competition for the number two quarterback position with anyone that the Lions add in the draft.
Boise State’s Brett Rypien is rather typical of most quarterbacks who are projected to be late round picks; high character, solid throwing mechanics, below average arm strength, limited accuracy on deep throws and low-end physical traits. Rypien checks nearly all of those boxes, for better or worse.
He does have an NFL pedigree, as his uncle Mark Rypien was former standout quarterback for several teams in the 1980s and 90s. The younger Rypien was a highly consistent performer for the Broncos, averaging nearly 3,400 passing yards and 22.5 touchdown throws per season in his four years in Boise. He’s as close to the model of a backup-caliber NFL quarterback as you will find in this draft.
Rypien though simply doesn’t have the arm talent or physical gifts that separate other quarterbacks from his level and propels the special ones to the top of most draft boards. Also, the Lions, with two backups currently on the roster including a young one who is just 26 years old in Cook, may simply not see the value this year in drafting another quarterback and spend their resources elsewhere.
Selecting a quarterback in later rounds rarely produces anything above training camp competition and possible practice squad filler. With the exception of players like the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (third round, 2012) and some guy named “Brady” from the New England Patriots (sixth round, 2000), it’s rare to find a franchise player at the position anywhere outside of the first two rounds.
Overall though, should the Lions get serious about adding another quarterback late in the draft, Rypien makes sense. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, he has leadership skills and he delivers an accurate ball to most parts of the field. He could be worth one of Detroit’s four current picks in the final two rounds.