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Jared Goff Lions
NFL

Is Jared Goff Playing Well Enough For Lions Not To Draft QB?

  • Justin Melo
  • October 5, 2022
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The Detroit Lions’ offense has been one of the more surprising units around the league through four contests despite their 1-3 record. Starting quarterback Jared Goff has been excellent. Goff is currently tied for first in touchdown passes (11), ranks fifth in passing yards per contest (281.5), seventh in passer rating (99.9), eighth in total QBR (67.1), and eighth in net yards per passing attempt (6.96). 

Is Goff playing well enough to prevent the Lions from drafting a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft? That may depend on Detroit’s final draft positioning.

Goff arrived in Detroit as an obvious bridge option at quarterback following the departure of Matthew Stafford. Goff didn’t play particularly well throughout the 2021 campaign and the Lions “earned” the No. 2 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft after crawling to a 3-13-1 finish. Lions general manager Brad Holmes opted against reaching for a quarterback with that pick, drafting Aidan Hutchinson instead. The early returns on the 2022 quarterback class indicate Detroit was correct not to force it.

But passing on Kenny Pickett wouldn’t be identical to passing on Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. The Lions shouldn’t pass on Stroud or Young if they’re afforded an opportunity to draft one of college football’s standout signal-callers. Both Young and Stroud are high-end quarterback prospects that appear on course to be drafted within the top five overall selections. Will the Lions draft that high in 2023? Their 1-3 record indicates they’re firmly in the mix, but their competitive nature suggests the Lions will pick in the 8-15 range as opposed to 1-5. That would likely place Detroit in positioning to draft the third, fourth, or fifth quarterback off the board. 

Candidates could possibly include Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, Tyler Van Dyke, and Cameron Ward. In that case, the Lions should feel comfortable passing on a quarterback yet again while deciding to stick with the in-form Goff. The NFL draft isn’t an exact science (as many teams find out the hard way annually), but as things appear, Young and Stroud are far more advanced prospects than the remaining field. Goff is playing well enough to ensure the Lions don’t have to make moves out of desperation (like the Carolina Panthers did this offseason).

Detroit’s offense currently ranks first in the league in yards gained per contest (436.8), fifth in passing yards per game (272.8), sixth in rushing yards per contest (164.0), and first in points scored per game (35.0). Goff’s improvement has been the driving force behind Detroit’s elite offensive showings. An upgraded supporting cast has placed Goff in more advantageous situations. Things should improve once rookie receiver Jameson Williams makes his NFL debut, too.

Speaking of Williams, his selection may directly correlate to Detroit’s efforts to land a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. Holmes moved up 20 selections in order to select Williams. Holmes impressively executed the draft-day deal without parting with draft capital in 2023 and beyond, but the forfeit of 2022 draft picks may hinder Holmes’ willingness to part with additional draft picks in order to trade up for a quarterback in 2023 should the Lions finish outside of striking range of their preferred target.

The general public has been metaphorically numbering Goff’s days in Detroit since the moment he stepped into Allen Park. Goff has responded by playing terrific football throughout the early portion of the 2022 campaign. His future may reside with the Lions after all.

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Justin Melo