NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper said Monday that if he were in charge of the Lions, he wouldn't draft a quarterback this year with the seventh overall pick. But Mel Kiper isn't in charge of the Lions.
Brad Holmes is in charge of the Lions.
"Kiper, he’s been doing it for a long time and he has his own opinion in terms of where we should go," Holmes said Tuesday.
Holmes, for his part, really likes this year's class of quarterbacks. Along with safety, Detroit's new GM said it's one of the deepest positions in the draft.
"I like the crop of quarterbacks that are coming out in this year's draft. That’s obviously always a very, very important position," he said. "And when you’re picking inside the top 10, I don’t think there’s a position that you can look past at any level and say, 'Well, you know, that’s not a very deep position.' When you’re picking inside the top 10 you better know every single position, regardless of the current circumstances on your roster."
The current circumstances on Detroit's roster say Jared Goff is the starting quarterback. The Lions didn't take on the rest of Goff's massive contract from the Rams, including $43 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, without intending to see if he's worth it. Without intending to see if he can reclaim his form as a two-time Pro-Bowler who took his team to the Super Bowl.
But that doesn't eliminate the Lions from the QB conversation in the draft. Trevor Lawrence is the only guarantee to be off the board by No. 7. If the Lions fall in love with one of Justin Fields, Zach Wilson or Trey Lance, this might be the perfect time to tab their QB of the future. He could be groomed under Goff in a no-pressure environment. Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has already said he prefers to have a rookie QB start his career on the bench.
Holmes said he likes the variety of quarterbacks at the top of the draft, calling them a range of "different flavors."
"You have a guy that actually can do it all, can do it from the pocket and do it with his legs. You have another guy that probably does it a little more with his legs, a little more being creative. There’s another guy that actually probably does it more from the pocket," Holmes said. "All the different flavors makes it very intriguing looking across the whole class of quarterbacks.
"But again, when you’re picking in the top 10, I don’t think you can ignore (any position). It’s just smart drafting business when you’re picking in the top 10 to make sure that you know that quarterback class very thoroughly. But I definitely think the intriguing part is that they’re all different genres and flavors."
The Lions have more pressing short-term needs than quarterback, namely wide receiver and just about every position on defense. There's a trio of elite receivers in the draft in LSU's Ja'Marr Chase and Alabama's DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. All three have been frequently mocked to Detroit. So has Penn State LB Micah Parsons.
But the Lions certainly aren't removing themselves from the QB discussion, as they did a year ago when they were picking No. 3 and trying to build around Matthew Stafford. Everything's on the table for Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, who want the best quarterback for their new team.
"Dan and Coach Lynn have been in lockstep," said Holmes. "The vision has been clear in terms of scheme. It’s, OK, what do our players do best? And being that, putting them in the best position to succeed. You kind of take the same approach with quarterbacks. What is their superpower, and is that superpower the best thing that is going to fit the Lions?"