2019 Position Breakdown: Quarterbacks

The good: We have to start with Matthew Stafford, who before his back injury, was playing at a Pro-Bowl caliber level.

The team was 3-4-1 when Stafford was lost for the season Week 9, which obviously isn't where they wanted to be halfway into the season, but Stafford was second in the NFL with 19 touchdown passes at the time and he was fourth in yards (2,499). He was leading the league in 20-plus-yard completions (41) and his 8.6 yards per attempt average was the best of his 11-year career.

Detroit's offense under Stafford's direction was top five in the NFL in passing and top 10 overall.

This new offense Darrell Bevell brought with him to Detroit really seems to suit Stafford's skill set. It features a more balanced attack, and tries to attack teams vertically in the passing game, which is obviously a strength of Stafford's.

Stafford said after the season he was looking forward to getting into a deeper dive of Bevell's offense this offseason in their second season together.

View photos of the Detroit Lions' quarterbacks from the 2019 season.

The bad: Backups Jeff Driskel and David Blough did some good things filling in for Stafford the final eight games of the season. Driskel showed off his athleticism and ability to use his legs as a weapon. Blough showed a nice ability to throw the deep ball in the vertical passing game.

But as both Driskel and Blough know, quarterbacks are ultimately judged by wins and losses, and neither signal caller was able to lead Detroit to a win the second half of the season. Driskel was 0-3 and Blough was 0-5.

Stafford has injured his back in two consecutive seasons now. He was able to play through it in 2018 and finish the season. He was obviously unable to do so this year. Stafford says the two injuries weren't related and he's not worried about his back moving forward.

Key stat: Detroit's passer rating of 106.0 was the fifth best in the NFL through the first nine weeks of the season. That rating dropped to 69.8 the final eight weeks of the season. Their rating over the last eight weeks ranked 29th in the NFL.

Free agency: Driskel is an unrestricted free agent.

He finished the season completing 59 percent of his passes for 685 yards with four touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 75.3. He also rushed 22 times for 151 yards. A hamstring injury suffered in his third start in Washington Week 12 ultimately ended his season.

"When Matthew got hurt you know Jeff went in there and the three games he started, I would say that he probably played good enough to win two out of those three," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the season.

"We didn't win those games and that was probably a byproduct of the defense not having a great day or special teams not having a great day. Jeff went in there and I thought played at a decent level to help us win the game."

We'll see if that evaluation leads to a contract ahead of next season.

Some of the veteran quarterbacks currently set to hit free agency this offseason include: Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota.

The draft: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is coming off arguably the greatest college season a player's ever had, which included setting an NCAA record with 65 touchdown passes, winning the Heisman Trophy and leading LSU to an undefeated national championship season. He's expected to be the No. 1 overall pick to Cincinnati.

After Burrow is where it gets interesting. Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa is right there with Burrow in terms of talent, but Tagovailoa had season-ending hip surgery. The medical evaluations will be key for him in the pre-draft process. If the medicals clear, and Washington takes a non-quarterback at No. 2, which is expected, the Lions could be in a position to draft Tagovailoa themselves at No. 3, or be a perfect trade partner for another quarterback-needy team willing to give the Lions more assets.

After Burrow and Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jake Fromm (Georgia), Jacob Eason (Washington) and Jordan Love (Utah State) could hear their names called sometime in the first two days of the draft.

MVP: The Lions were 3-4-1 with Stafford and 0-8 without him. Enough said.

Quotable: "I'll be feeling really, really good pretty darn soon, to tell you the truth," Stafford said after the year, when asked if he'll be ready for the start of the offseason training program in the spring.

Related Content