In what some call a weak quarterback class, these three Senior Bowl quarterbacks make the most sense for the Detroit Lions.
Last week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, the next wave of NFL players got their first pre-draft showcase. The Detroit Lions have two first-round picks and a questionable future at quarterback, so the signal callers in the event were of particular interest as their coaching staff led the American roster.
Among the six Senior Bowl quarterbacks, the Lions staff worked with Malik Willis, Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe. The National team, coached by the New York Jets, had Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder and Carson Strong.
Coming off a good week of evaluation, these Senior Bowl quarterbacks make the most sense for the Detroit Lions.
3 Senior Bowl quarterbacks who make a lot of sense for the Detroit Lions
Malik Willis-Willis is an outstanding raw talent, with athleticism befitting a modern NFL quarterback. The Auburn transfer-turned star under Hugh Freeze at Liberty had observers in awe of his easy arm strength and good mobility. Now, I wouldn’t get too excited about Willis just yet–he may not be ready to start right away. But if the Lions draft him, he would be able sit behind Jared Goff next season.
Kenny Pickett-Pickett is an interesting prospect. He rose from relative obscurity in 2021, throwing for over 4,300 yards and 42 touchdowns on his way to being a Heisman Trophy finalist. He has a polished all-around skill set, including sneaky mobility to make plays off-schedule and on the move. Owing to running a pro-style system at Pitt, with the responsibilities that entails, he may be the most NFL-ready quarterback prospect in this year’s class.
Pickett has a chance to be the first quarterback taken in April, or he could tumble to the end of the first round and be a perfect choice for the Lions at No. 31 or 32.
Desmond Ridder-Ridder had the best showing of all quarterbacks during the Senior Bowl game itself. He was named the Offensive MVP, as he went 4-for-6 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown. He comes from a winning culture in Cincinnati, with 44 career wins to put him among the FBS all-time leaders.
Ridder is mobile with a strong arm. In terms of raw tools, he may have the most upside in this draft class this side of Willis. During the season, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. compared him to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen at the same stage of their careers.
Choosing between Willis, Ridder and Pickett feels like a no-lose proposition for the Lions, should they be inclined or have the chance to make the choice. It stands to really come down to who is available when they’re on the clock at the end of the first round or early in the second, or who they’re willing to move around the draft board to get if there’s a chance to do that. In terms of odds they become a Lion, best to worst, let’s go Willis, Ridder, Pickett.