What Is the Lions Future At Quarterback?

Is Goff the future, or does Holmes have his eye on a college athlete?


Drew R. Abrams, Sports Columnist, Editor

For the first time since 2009 the Lions will soon have a decision to make at the quarterback position.  As even the most casual football fan knows, Mathew Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for two first round picks and former first overall pick quarterback Jared Goff last January.  New Lions GM Brad Holmes started his new regime off with a bang as he dealt the former Detroit Lion to his old team and kicked off a full-blown rebuild in the process.

The Lions are highly unlikely to make a franchise altering decision at the quarterback spot before the next draft.  Goff is the only starting level quarterback on the roster right now.  The most likely scenario to play out this season is the Lions will use this year primarily to develop their young players such as rookie right tackle Penei Sewell and young receivers Quintez Cephus and Amon-Ra St. Brown (yes that is his real name). 

If Goff somehow has a great year,  elevates his young receivers and works well with second-year runningback De’Andre Swift, then it’s not crazy to think Goff just might be the answer here in Detroit.  We all saw the success the 2019-2020 49ers had with Jimmy Garoppolo.  All Jimmy G had to do was not make mistakes, which he rarely did.  The Lions could potentially go in the direction of having a reliable guy under center and building up a team around him to the point that all he has to do is not make mistakes.  Goff has looked good this season, even though most of his stats have come in garbage time, so this outcome isn´t out of the question.

Assuming Goff doesn’t workout, however, and the Lions dump him after this season or the year after when his massive contract expires, then the Lions quarterback of the future could still be in college.  But with the struggles of top quarterbacks Spencer Rattler and Sam Howell, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Detroit takes this route in this years draft.  Unless they plan to take some body outside of the first and try and develop them, Detroit probably won´t use what is likely going to be a top-five pick to take a quarterback no one is really excited for.

There is a third option that has recently emerged.  With the success of Sam Darnold has had since being traded to the Carolina Panthers, it´s becoming a growing possibility that the Lions take a similar direction.  That direction is that the Lions largely finish rebuilding their defense and add a few receivers, and then place an already established talent as opposed to a rookie quarterback in charge of the offensive system.

The outcome really depends on how patient the Lions front office is with finding their quarterback of the future.  If they are desperate to give the fans something new and get them excited, I would expect them to pull the trigger in the draft and take a shot on either Howell or Rattler, although I am more in favor of the second option.  The second option is simply wait.  Wait until that offensive line is built up, wait until you have more than practice squad-level receivers on your team, wait until a quarterback that you can actually fall in love with becomes available, in the draft or otherwise.  You essentially have until Goff´s contract runs out to figure out what you´re going to do, which means Detroit has two years to identify their guy, to find the quarterback who can hopefully get them that first playoff win in almost half a century.