Lions must draft competition for Jared Goff ASAP

Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl
Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Super Bowl (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports) /

Using the sad stories of Detroit-Lions-drafts past doesn’t change the fact that only two starters in the AFC (Drew Lock and Derek Carr) and eight NFC starting quarterbacks were taken outside of Round 1; of those ten men, both projected AFC starters were second-round selections, as were three of the NFC group, or half of the men in total.

The situation in Houston should have a first-round starter, Deshaun Watson, but may be permanently handed to the former sixth-round selection, Tyrod Taylor with rookie third-rounder Davis Mills being the heir apparent if Watson cannot dispense with his legal issues.

The eight NFC starters referred to above are Andy Dalton (2nd), Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Jalen Hurts (2nd), Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo(2nd), Tom Brady, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Additionally, only two men were drafted after the fourth Round, Tom Brady (Round 6) and journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick (Round 7). The others, Russell Wilson (Round 3), Dak Prescott (Round 4), and Kirk Cousins (Round 4) found their way to the middle rounds due to question marks but were selected as potential starters. Wilson was contemplating a baseball career when he fell to the third round, too.

Behind the second-round AFC starters are two more first-rounders ready to take over. Teddy Bridgewater, who could be the starter, and Marcus Mariotta are former first-round picks that currently occupy the backup roles in Denver and Las Vegas, respectively.

Six of the non-first-round NFC starters are backed up by men drafted higher than them, four of whom were former first-round picks. That means that nearly every team has at least one highly-drafted quarterback at or near the top of their depth chart, most have two.

The Bears’ Justin Fields (1st), Vikings’ Kellen Mond, Eagles’ Joe Flacco (1st), Giants’ Geno Smith, Forty-Niners’ Trey Lance (1st), Buccaneers’ Blaine Gabbert (1st) or Kyle Trask (2nd), are all higher-drafted picks than the starters on their NFC roster that will serve as backups.

The Washington Football Team only has one player who was drafted after releasing Dwayne Haskins, a former first-round pick now with Pittsburgh, going into 2021. The Lions are very close with undrafted options Boyle and Blough as the backups.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, they have four quarterbacks drafted in the fourth round or higher, with two being former firsts. The New England Patriots have a No. 1 overall, Cam Newton, backed up by another first-round rookie prospect, Mac Jones, with a fourth-round pick, Jarrett Stidham, competing to take over after Newton is gone. If those two teams aren’t a model for what other teams would like to be, we don’t know who would be.

There are many cities that have opted to do what we’re proposing here, drafting a prospect to groom as the future starter.

Adding to this argument is that the success of the best franchises in the NFL is predicated on the advantage under center. Elite play from a quarterback is a common denominator of Super Bowl winners during the modern era. The combatants also played good defense during the playoffs, too, but one easy conclusion to come to is that a team needs to find the right man to run their offense to make a run at a Lombardi Trophy.

If making mistakes drafting a position means that we can never draft another, it would mean closing up shop because the Lions have drafted poorly at every position at some point in recent history. When you look at the entire NFL it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that NFL teams invest high picks in quarterbacks, many first-round picks, and those men make up more than a majority of NFL starters and backups, too.

As a reminder, the Detroit Lions haven’t spent higher than a sixth-round selection on a quarterback since Matthew Stafford was drafted in 2009. Both Jake Rudock (2016), and Brad Kaaya (2017), were taken in Round 6 and that is all of the attempts at securing a good quarterback behind Stafford. We did spend a seventh-round pick to acquire Blough from the Cleveland Browns.

Some people never learn, let’s not be those people.