After the Detroit Lions traded Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, there were plenty of rumors that the franchise could still target a quarterback in the first round with the No. 7 overall pick, even with Jared Goff in the fold.
Goff came over in the Stafford deal, in hopes of reinvigorating a young career that seemed to hit a bit of a rut. After looking like an MVP candidate in 2018, when he guided the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl, he’s looked closer to an average NFL starting quarterback over the last two seasons.
Even so, the Lions passed on the chance to take either Justin Fields or Mac Jones, who were both still on the board in the first round. In fact, they didn’t take a quarterback with any of their seven picks. Instead, they largely bolstered both sides of the line with the top of the first draft under new general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell, using the No. 7 pick on star offensive tackle Penei Sewell, a second rounder on defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike, and their first pick of the third round on defensive tackle Alim McNeil.
“It’s a nice vote of confidence obviously for me,” Goff told the team website today. “I think what’s not lost on me is that their first move as a staff with Brad and Dan involved me, so it’s exciting and it makes you feel good.”
Jared Goff says he was fired up when he saw the Lions take Penei Sewell. Says the Lions OL is "shaping up to be one of the top groups in the league.”
— Tori Petry (@sportstori) May 6, 2021
Depending on how the draft order shook out, there were situations in which Sewell might’ve been a top two pick this year. Ultimately, Trevor Lawrence was hard to overcome, and the quarterback-heavy draft sent him slipping to the Lions, who have to be thrilled with adding a potential generational offensive tackle to block for Goff and whoever comes after.
Jared Goff is pretty excited as well.
“Fired up. Fired up,” Goff said. “When I saw we took Penei, I know the staff was fired up and so was I. Obviously, as a quarterback, anytime you get help upfront that’s always good.”
The Detroit Lions have plenty of work to do to become contenders, even in a tough NFC North, but their new quarterback seems very pleased with the direction things are going.