Lions must draft competition for Jared Goff ASAP
Detroit Lions rebuild as a factor
Another aspect of whether or not the Detroit Lions should draft a quarterback is the roster rebuild itself. The goal is to be a competitive team, challenge for the division, make the playoffs, all within the next two to three years. Players need time to develop, usually two-to-three years, meaning that if we’re going to be challengers in 2024, we need a quarterback who can give us great play during that timeframe.
Could Jared Goff settle this all and be the man? After six years, his reputation suggests that he is competent but not spectacular, capable of big numbers under the right circumstances. We think history is the best predictor of the future; having another option to push for the starting job makes sense given Goff’s track record, cost, and the Lions’ lack of depth.
PFF ranks Jared Goff at 26th in the NFL and cites his inability to complete deep passes as a problem. You can read the article, here. While we would rank Goff more in the true middle,15-20, the point stands that paying a player Top-5 money is no guarantee that you get that kind of production or that the player is offering value to the roster.
Sure, they need wide receivers, a starting guard, depth along the line, and help on defense. Drafts prove that finding good talent at other positions is much easier throughout the draft than at the quarterback position.
Tim Boyle, signed from Green Bay, and hold-over David Blough are battling for the backup role and neither has big potential. The downgrade would be severe despite both young field generals having some talent that warrants their spot on the roster.
General manager Brad Holmes surely understands that any GM’s long-term job security is tied to his ability to address the quarterback position. Bob Quinn’s failure to catapult Matthew Stafford regularly into the playoffs is why both are gone.
If you look at how long a successful rebuild takes, or how long it takes to completely replace a roster, there’s a roughly 30% turnover every year. An average NFL team returns 38.3 players this year, according to Over The Cap’s website, another pro sports transaction website. The average NFL career is between 3.3 years and 2.6 years depending on the source.
Thirty-eight players out of a 53-man roster is 72% retention, just using a calculator.
We aren’t suggesting that we should rush to put a square peg into a round hole, aka forcing a pick. If the Lions win four games, get a Top-5 pick, they don’t necessarily have to draft a quarterback there. However, if they draft an outside linebacker and one of the four quarterbacks who are projected to be Top-10 picks becomes a star, that could be ammunition for a Holmes ouster.
Holmes has time afforded to him by having Goff, draft picks afforded to him by the Stafford trade, and that gives him the ability to make his best decision on a prospect and gives that prospect time to learn and acclimate. Maybe he drafts a guy in Round-2 but he has the ability to draft one wherever his guy is.
That is a HUGE opportunity that other Motown general managers have not taken advantage of.
The three-year window, that rosters usually flip in, is what he’ll get to show progress and build the core of a winning team. The Detroit Lions have the draft picks and after a couple of roster cap cuts next year, they will have the salary space to go after a few more pieces in free agency.
The clock is always ticking, though.