Do the Detroit Lions have to draft a quarterback in 2021?

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

In April of 2009, the Detroit Lions drafted their greatest quarterback in franchise history, Matthew Stafford. Now, Stafford is being traded away, leaving the Pride without a franchise quarterback.

It is pretty safe to say that former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will go first overall to the Jaguars, but who goes next is up for debate. There is Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Alabama’s Mac Jones.

Looking at the teams picking before the Lions at seven, it’s almost a guarantee that another quarterback will be drafted before they’re up. So it all comes down to who Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes think can be the next face of the franchise.

For me, Zach Wilson is the only quarterback outside of Trevor Lawrence that is worth taking with the seventh overall pick. Wilson threw for 3,692 yards during the 2020 season at BYU. He also threw for 33 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

If Mac Jones is still on the board when the Lions have their second pick, whenever that may be (if a trade for Stafford results in another first-rounder) and they didn’t take a quarterback already, I would be on board with selecting him.

Not to mention there are quarterbacks that will be available in the later rounds, like Notre Dame’s Ian Book and Florida’s Kyle Trask. No, those guys are not franchise quarterbacks, but they’re roster spot options for depth.

The bottom line for the Detroit Lions

All in all, the Detroit Lions should only draft a quarterback in the first round if they feel that player can be the next franchise quarterback, the next face of the organization. If they believe that player can win the Super Bowl, then, by all means, draft him.

But let’s not forget, last offseason, Bob Quinn signed Chase Daniel to a three-year, $13 million contract. There is an opt-out after the 2022 season, but letting him start next season might not be the worst option.

This rebuild is going to take some time, this team has multiple holes to fill. The defense needs a lot of work and upgrades, so allowing Daniel to be under center next year, could give the Lions a top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

I have been the person who would like the Pride to draft a defensive player with their first three or four selections because as soon as the defense gets better, the team gets much, much better. A quarterback doesn’t fix this team considering we are letting the best one we’ve ever had leave us after winning nothing.

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All in all, the Lions should only draft a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft if they think that player is the next franchise quarterback. By my evaluation, only Zach Wilson is worth it at number seven. Mac Jones is worth in later in the first round if the Lions can make a trade to get back in.

Outside of that, the Lions can deal with Chase Daniel under center for the 2022 season as they deal with fixing the defense in the 2021 NFL Draft.