MIAMI – With the top two picks in this year's NFL Draft expected to be quarterback Joe Burrow and edge rusher Chase Young, most pundits believe this year's NFL Draft really begins at No. 3 with the Detroit Lions.
What will Bob Quinn decide to do with his top three pick? There's certainly a lot of opinions out there. Will he draft a playmaker to help a defense that struggled most of last season? Could they trade the pick to a quarterback-needy team and acquire more assets? Some analysts believe the Lions should draft a quarterback and join the trend of building around a young and less expensive signal caller.
Don't include Hall of Famer, Super Bowl winner, NFL Network analyst and former quarterback Kurt Warner among that last group.
"As long as Matthew (Stafford) is healthy, and they believe he can be healthy moving forward, he's got plenty of time left to play and he's extremely talented," Warner said Thursday at the Super Bowl, when asked about Stafford and the Lions' decision with the No. 3 pick. "For me, if I was Detroit, I'm saying, 'Can we build a team around Matthew and then see what we have?'
"I mean he's done so many great things in this league, but I don't feel like he's ever had a complete team around him, where he could truly compete so we could see really how good is he?"
Stafford will turn 32 next season and was playing some of the best football of his career this past season before a back injury cost him the last eight games of the year. Stafford had 19 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 106.0 passer rating (fifth best in NFL at the time). The Lions, however, were just 3-4-1 in the eight games he played, despite him playing at such a high level, which goes to Warner's point about building a better supporting cast, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Stafford's dealt with a back injury for the second consecutive season, and while that's cause for concern, both the team and Stafford have said they're not worried about his back moving forward.
"If I'm Detroit, with what I know is in this draft a little bit, I don't think I go quarterback there (at No. 3)," Warner said. "Again, as long as I know what Matthew was dealing with last year is not something that going to be persistent moving forward, I stay and build around Matthew because you're not going to find many players as talented as he is that have had as much success as he's had for this beginning part of his career.
"Again, there's going to be some good quarterbacks out there, but to me, it's keep building what you're trying to build here and see if you can get a team to allow Matthew the opportunity to get into the playoffs and see what you have."