Would Detroit Lions join quarterback sweepstakes in NFL draft?

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence throws a pass against LSU during the first half of the College Football Playoff national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13. (AP file photo)

The college quarterbacks class is shaping up nicely, just in time to perhaps rescue some NFL teams from themselves.

Right at the top are Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Florida’s Kyle Trask, depending on who (likely all) become eligible for the 2021 draft. BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance are highly rated, too.

Those guys salivating about such prospects work in the personnel departments of the Jets, Jaguars and Bears. Maybe also for the Lions, Patriots, Falcons, Saints and 49ers.

Each of those clubs is in a quarterback quandary, though Atlanta with Matt Ryan need not be in any hurry. Same for the 49ers if Jimmy Garoppolo could stay healthy. And who knows, maybe Taysom Hill has the goods to step in full time when Drew Brees almost certainly heads out.

With changes likely in the Motor City, it’s no long shot that Matthew Stafford could be gone from Detroit in 2021. The Lions have gone nowhere despite having a solid QB, but the gutsy, oft-injured Stafford is 32.

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warms up prior to a game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. (AP photo)

“I think they have to blow it up, go the way of the Dolphins,” said Jim Miller, a former NFL QB and now with SiriusXM NFL radio and Westwood One. “I think Matthew has been a good soldier but not won anything. I think an overhaul … is coming and the Patriots could look at Matthew, who is going to have a lot of options.”

It’s more than just QBs themselves, according to Rich Gannon, the 2002 NFL MVP and current CBS Sports analyst who is known as one of the best QB talent evaluators around.

“It is not just whether you need a quarterback,” Gannon said. “Is the quarterback ready? A team may say, ‘We think the kid at Clemson will come in and be our Week 1 starter, we will get him all the reps and get him ready.’ But is the team ready for a kid quarterback? You never really know.”

What is known is that the QB market will be heavily populated with shoppers this offseason.


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