The good: There was a lot of good to talk about when it came to the 2022 season for Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff. He finished the year ranked in the Top 10 in nearly all of the major passing categories including sixth in yards (4,438), seventh in yards per attempt (7.56), fifth in touchdowns (29), seventh in passer rating (99.3) and second in interception percentage (1.2).
Goff went his last nine games and 324 straight passes without throwing an interception to help guide the Lions to an 8-2 finish, nearly making the playoffs after a 1-6 start. Detroit's offense finished the season fourth in total offense and fourth in scoring.
Beyond the numbers, Goff has found a home in Detroit. There's something to be said about being wanted, and general manager Brad Holmes made it very clear after the season that he asked for and wanted Goff in the Matthew Stafford trade that also sent two first-round picks and a third-round pick Detroit's way. Goff is 28 years old, under contract for the next two seasons, and has established himself as the present and future at the quarterback position for the Lions.
View photos of the Detroit Lions quarterbacks from the 2022 NFL season.
The bad: For how much we praise Goff for his ability to take care of the football the second half of the season, we have to talk about what came before that. Goff threw six interceptions during Detroit's first six games and a few of those ended up being costly. Pick sixes against Philadelphia and Seattle were critical plays in one-score losses. He also had a fumble returned for a touchdown in a Week 5 loss in New England.
This Lions' offense was still humming early despite the turnovers, but coaches knew if they eliminated that element, the offense could really become a difference maker for them in the win column. Credit to Goff for taking that criticism and working his tail off to improve that portion of this game.
Key stat: Goff led the NFL with 1,635 passing yards when blitzed this season. His 13 touchdowns were second behind only Patrick Mahomes (16). Goff had a 106.8 passer rating when teams attempted to blitz him.
Free agents: Nate Sudfeld (unrestricted)
With Goff the only quarterback under contract in 2023, the Lions are expected to add to the position this offseason via free agency and potentially the draft.
Sudfeld was a steady veteran voice in the quarterback room. When the starter plays as well as Goff did this season, there's a little bit of credit that should go the backup's way. We'll see if Holmes wants to re-sign Sudfeld to compete for the backup job next year or go another route in free agency.
Draft: The Lions have the No. 6 and No. 18 picks in the first round of this year's NFL Draft. I'd be a little surprised if they used one of those on a quarterback given the season Goff had.
Quarterback is the most important position in football, and if Holmes decides he likes a young passer in the first round to upgrade the backup job and compete with Goff in the future – or become a future asset – there's no harm in that. But given the needs on defense (Detroit finished 32nd in total defense) it seems more prudent to add top level young talent to that side of the football and maybe look at the quarterback position on Day 2 or 3.
Bryce Young (Alabama), Will Levis (Kentucky) and C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) are atop the draft rankings at the position and are likely Top 10 picks. Quarterbacks like Anthony Richardson (Florida), Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), Tanner McKee (Stanford) and Max Duggan (TCU) are all Day 2 or later players who could interest Holmes and the Lions.
Keep in mind San Francisco's Brock Purdy (seventh round), Miami's Skylar Thompson (seventh), Washington's Sam Howell (fifth) and New England's Bailey Zappe (fourth) are Day 3 quarterbacks taken in last year's draft that got an opportunity to play this season and played pretty well.
Quotable: "I think it's a lot easier to get worse at quarterback than to get better at quarterback in this league," Holmes said. "And so, I think what Jared (Goff) has done this year, captain of the ship of a top three offense and I want to say he was top 10 statistically in most of the passing categories.
"You know how we approach the draft, like we're never going to turn down a good football player. So, if there's a football player we really love, I mean we're going to make sure every stone is turned. But I do think that Jared has proven to everybody that he is the starting quarterback for us."