Road to the Draft

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Lions could find quarterback depth in later rounds of draft

General manager Bob Quinn was as emphatic as he could be at the NFL Scouting Combine last month when he said he has had zero conversations with teams about trading quarterback Matthew Stafford. Quinn plans for Stafford to play out the remaining three years of his contract as the starting quarterback of the Detroit Lions.

Now that that's cleared up, Quinn does, however, have to figure out what he wants to do about the backup situation in Detroit. It's been well documented the struggles the Lions had last year after losing Stafford to a back injury midseason. Jeff Driskel and David Blough combined to go 0-8 filling in for Stafford the second half of the season. Driskel is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Blough is under contract for the 2020 season.

It seems likely the Lions will look to bolster the competition in the quarterback room behind Stafford and alongside Blough, whether that's signing a veteran in free agency later this month, or drafting a rookie in April to groom.

With Stafford not going anywhere, it seems unlikely the Lions will look to draft a quarterback early in next month's NFL Draft. If the Lions look to draft a quarterback, it will most likely take place in either Day 2 or Day 3.

Joe Burrow (LSU), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Justin Herbert (Oregon), Jordan Love (Utah State) and Jacob Eason (Washington) are considered the consensus top five quarterbacks in this draft, and likely first-round picks, probably taking them out of consideration for the Lions and Quinn heading into Day 2.

So, who are the Day 2 and Day 3 quarterbacks the Lions could have interest in?

"It's a nice class of guys," Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said at the Combine. "The athleticism of some of these guys is getting to be amazing that you didn't see in years past.''

That sentiment was echoed by Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard.

"I think it's a good group," he said. "It's got good depth at all levels."

View photos of the Quarterbacks working out at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The next group of quarterbacks who could slip into Day 2 is led by Georgia's Jake Fromm and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts.

Hurts was a Heisman Trophy finalist after throwing for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushing for another 1,298 yards and 20 more scores. He ran in the 4.5 range at the Combine, and threw pretty well in drills. He's a dual-threat player.

Fromm, a former Bulldog like Stafford, threw for 2,860 yards with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Anthony Gordon (Washington State), James Morgan (FIU), Steven Montez (Colorado), Nate Stanley (Iowa) and Cole McDonald (Hawaii) are also part of this second wave of quarterbacks.

"That is one position that takes a little extra time (evaluating), because a lot of what you do with the quarterbacks as far as in the classroom, preparation, board work, it's very important," Los Angeles Chargers GM Tom Telesco said at the Combine about the evaluation process of quarterbacks in the draft.

Some names to keep an eye on later in the draft would be: Jake Luton (Oregon State), Shea Patterson (Michigan), Kelly Bryant (Missouri), Kevin Davidson (Princeton) and Brian Lewerke (Michigan State).

Stafford has a clear bill of health and will be ready to go when the team reports for the offseason training program later next month. Who Stafford will be leaning on as a backup will be something to watch over the next month and a half.

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