Three Quarterbacks the Lions Should Target in 2020 NFL Draft
If you watched the Lions’ 20-13 loss to the Bears on Sunday, then you’re likely wondering who will be Detroit’s quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Matthew Stafford, the franchise’s star quarterback, was ruled out for Sunday’s NFC North divisional matchup.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Stafford has broken bones in his back, and is considered week-to-week.
However, with Detroit’s playoff chances likely already having been squashed, the organization’s decision to push its franchise quarterback back into action should be an easy one.
Simply, don’t do it.
That being said, who will command the offense in Stafford’s place?
Backup Jeff Driskel finished the day with 269 yards on 27-for-46 passing. The former Florida and Louisiana Tech passer also recorded both a touchdown and interception.
While that’s good enough to keep it close with a mediocre Chicago offense on the other side, the playoff teams left on Detroit’s schedule likely won’t let Driskel hang around as long.
All things considered, it wasn’t a bad day for the second-year pro.
However, he’s far from a dependable backup that you can trust to win you a game.
And if you’re against spending big money on one, like Detroit general manager Bob Quinn seems to be, the only remaining option is to spend a draft pick on a quarterback.
The young quarterback would then be able to complement Stafford and be the future of the franchise.
Let’s be real, though, this won’t happen in the first round -- nor should it.
However, anywhere from rounds three through five seems fair, depending on who’s available.
A few long months out from the 2020 NFL Draft, here are three draft-eligible quarterbacks for Detroit to consider:
Jacob Eason, Washington
In a perfect world, Eason is still on the board in round three for the Lions to grab.
The junior transferred to Washington from Georgia after Jake Fromm took over under center for the Bulldogs.
It is important to note that Eason suffered a left knee injury in the Bulldogs’ opener in 2017.
Aside from being three inches taller, Eason is wildly similar to Stafford in various ways.
At 6-foot-6, 227 pounds, Eason possesses great arm strength with good-enough mobility to move around the pocket and evade defenders.
He isn’t afraid to hit small holes across the middle due to the speed on his throws.
That trait allows him to keep defenses sunk in the middle. Then, he can beat opponents over the top via his superb deep-passing ability
His best film comes from his deep passes to the end zone. And he can pull off the deep throw from any part of the field.
Simply put, he’s a gunslinger with a high ceiling, and he would be a home-run pick in the third round.
The problem with this scenario is that he probably won’t make it this far undrafted.
2019 stats: 202-for-317 (63.7%), 2,472 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Arizona took a shot with Kyler Murray. Baltimore took a shot with Lamar Jackson.
Both picks have paid huge dividends for their franchises so far.
Hurts, a Heisman Trophy candidate and former national champion at Alabama, is as electric as they come at the position.
He’s unlike Eason in that he doesn’t have the elite arm strength necessary to win some battles.
And at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, he’s much smaller.
But Hurts’ 73.3 percent completion percentage is beyond exceptional, and speaks for itself.
Why his draft status has been tempered is confusing, similar to how Jackson’s was.
Hurts has been more than good enough to pick apart Texas in 2019, on top of beating Georgia for a national championship in 2017.
Granted, he’s been gifted with elite offensive weapons at both stops.
But there’s still no denying that his ceiling is sky-high.
Just look at the gaudy numbers that he’s posted so far in 2019, including an absurd 39 touchdowns -- 24 passing and 15 rushing -- compared to just four interceptions.
Imagine Hurts learning under Stafford while the veteran finishes out his contract.
Stafford could then retire and hand the keys of the franchise over to Hurts.
He’s worth the risk in the third round and beyond.
2019 stats: 151-for-206 (73.3%), 2,742 yards passing, 869 yards rushing, 39 combined touchdowns and four interceptions
Jordan Love, Utah State
Again, we’re focused on the middle rounds of the draft here, and this is another guy I could see gone before the fourth round.
It makes Detroit’s selection of a backup quarterback in the third round seem logical.
Love is a hybrid quarterback who can beat defenses with his feet when he needs to, but trusts much more in his arm to do so.
“When you look at Jordan Love, you’re not intrigued by what he is right now, but by what he can become,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said.
At 6-foot-4, Love’s stature is attractive, combined with his mobility and accuracy all over the field.
Playing in a weaker conference like the Mountain West, obviously, is the downside to his film.
However, the same critique has been made about many other quarterbacks that have come before him. And guess what, it’s been proven to not be applicable to each passer.
Love has already racked up 2,402 yards passing in 2019 and at a 61.7 percent completion clip.
He might not be a guy that franchises trust under center in his rookie year, but he has arguably the highest ceiling of any quarterback prospect not named Tua.
While Eason is more ready right now and Hurts’ running ability is highly attractive, Love might be the best option once it’s time for Stafford to hang up the cleats.
2019 stats: 206-for-334 (61.7%), 2,402 yards and 110 yards rushing