The writing is on the wall: Detroit needs a quarterback.
If the Lions do not draft one in the first round, they are going to have to go shopping in free agency to find a signal-caller.
Most of the QBs on this year's free-agent list are more career backup types. However, there are three names of interest because they have direct ties to Detroit -- and that is the name of the game in the NFL
That means Detroit's strongest interest will circle around the Saints and Rams -- or other teams with coaching and management ties to Detroit -- due to the Lions' associations.
All three of these QBs are tied indirectly to the coaching tree of Bill Parcells, who, of course, is Dan Campbell's mentor.
1.) Jameis Winston - New Orleans Saints
2021 game film reviewed: (9/19) CAR, (10/10) WSH, (10/25) SEA
Even after bursting on to the scene in Week 1 with a monstrous five-touchdown performance against Green Bay, this former No. 1 pick is anything but a shoe-in to return to New Orleans next season after blowing out his knee (MCL and ACL). Mix in the fact the Saints gave his backup, Taysom Hill, a monster contract extension, and there is more uncertainty surrounding his return.
Enter Campbell's former working relationship with Winston's head coach, Sean Payton, and this could be the perfect storm for all sides on a one-year, prove-it deal. While Winston may have more preferable landing spots, the risk may be too high for any team other than Detroit.
Scouting report: Dual-threat QB who likes to throw the home-run ball with questionable accuracy and decision-making. Works the short-to-intermediate levels of the field with mixed results. Ball placement at those route levels is all over the road. Even-tempered and runs the offense with a high tempo. Can gun it or throw some touch passes. Has a cannon for an arm, and loves to launch it. The big play is his thing.
2.) Jacoby Brissett - Miami Dolphins
2021 game film reviewed: (9/26) LVR, (10/10) TB, (11/11) BAL
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Brissett is currently being coached by Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who came from Bill Belichick's staff in New England. Belichick traces back to Parcells. Heck, Brissett himself even played for the Patriots.
Brissett knows how to play smart, after backing up the likes of Tom Brady, Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers in his travels.
Scouting report: Classic, heady game manager with a strong arm and limited mobility. Rigid-looking. Sitting duck in the pocket who brings a slightly upbeat and methodical tempo. Will nickel and dime a defense to death, with decent downfield ball placement in the short-to-intermediate route levels. Protects the football downfield. Can lose pocket awareness, which leaves him vulnerable to the rush. Has the arm for the long ball, but he lacks accuracy deep. Knack for clutch plays. Lions need to make sure his knees check out.
3.) Tyrod Taylor - Houston Texans
2021 game film reviewed: (9/12) JAX, (11/7) MIA, (11/28) NYJ
Houston general manager Nick Caserio comes from New England, which is the connection on this one.
In the wake of Deshaun Watson’s drama, Taylor has stepped in and turned in a respectful season. He is a veteran tweener, who is somewhere in between being a solid starter and a great backup.
Scouting report: Experienced and inconsistent athletic, dual-threat signal caller with a strong arm. Makes minimum mistakes downfield. Brings a steady and methodical tempo. Operates primarily out of the shotgun, and throws an easy ball to catch. Inaccurate too often, but has a knack for connecting on the home-run ball. Playing on some older-looking legs and it shows.
There are two other QBs on the free-agent list who have ties to Campbell and Brad Holmes from their stints in New Orleans and Los Angeles, respectively, but they are unlikely.
One is QB John Wolford (LAR), but he is an exclusive-rights free agent. The other is Saints backup Trevor Siemian. While Siemian has put up some numbers filling in this season, it is probably not enough for the Lions to bank on.
While these three-highlighted QBs may or may not prove to be the most productive free-agent prospects available, they are the three who best fit Detroit.