With the Lions winless (0-7) and in sole possession of last place in the NFC North through the first seven weeks in the 2021 season, the attention of the Detroit fanbase has already turned to the 2022 NFL Draft.
In the first round of next year's draft, the Lions will have two picks -- the first pick being their own and the second being courtesy of the team's blockbuster trade, involving quarterbacks Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford, with the Los Angeles Rams this past offseason.
To the delight of Detroit fans who are already engaged in mock draft season, CBS Sports came out with its latest mock draft Monday, and in it, it had Lions general manager Brad Holmes selecting at No. 3 overall and No. 29 overall (via the Rams).
With the No. 3 pick, CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson selected LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., just two years after Detroit took fellow cornerback Jeff Okudah, out of Ohio State, with the same pick.
Here's what Wilson had to say about the selection:
"Jeffrey Okudah's career has been marred by injuries and while we liked Ifeatu Melifonwu coming out of Syracuse, he's injured, too. Put it another way: You can never have enough good young corners and Stingley is a CB1."
There's no doubt that Stingley, standing in at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, is uber talented. However, the Lions have found out the hard way that it's never easy taking a cornerback as high as Okudah was selected in 2020.
So far, Okudah's career has been marred by significant struggles and injuries, which has left a bad taste in my mouth regarding taking a corner with a top-three pick or even in the top five.
So, no offense to Stingley, but if I were Holmes, I'd be passing on the Ed Orgeron product at No. 3.
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Then, with the Lions' second of two first-round picks, Wilson has Holmes & Co. selecting North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.
"Howell has been up and down this season for the Tar Heels, and we wouldn't take him in Round 1, but the Lions are desperate to find their next franchise QB. Howell has shown glimpses of Matthew Stafford-level gunslingin', though the consistency just hasn't been there."
Howell, in this mock draft, is the third quarterback that went off the board.
The UNC product was preceded by Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (No. 7, Washington Football Team) and Nevada signal-caller Carson Strong (No. 17, Pittsburgh Steelers).
Howell, standing in at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, has been far from "Mr. Consistent" during his time with the Tar Heels.
He had a three-interception game in North Carolina's 2021 season opener against Virginia Tech, and has thrown for an interception and no more than 203 yards in each of UNC's past two games (against two ACC opponents in Florida State and Miami, respectively).
However, he has all the makings of a passer at the next level, most notably with tremendous arm strength.
Also, it's important to note that Detroit's present signal-caller Jared Goff has had a rough season behind center, and is only viewed as a "stopgap" who is warming up the position for the organization's next franchise QB.
With the above factors taken into account, I think Howell would be a solid choice by the Lions' front office at this point in the first round.