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2021 Mel Kiper NFL mock draft: Here comes the QB for the Lions

The first of many mock drafts sending a QB to the Lions.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Get ready for all of the 2021 NFL mock drafts to converge on one solution for the Detroit Lions. With Matthew Stafford firmly on the trade block and the Lions currently holding the seventh overall pick, it’s officially quarterback season in Detroit.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. kicked things off this week with his first mock draft of the season. So the questions isn’t if he slotted a quarterback to the Lions, butt which one?

The answer: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

“He had an up-and-down season, but we saw the flashes of his talent, particularly in his six-touchdown performance against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal,” Kiper wrote. “Fields has superstar potential, but he’ll need help around him. Detroit will need to figure out what it’s doing with free-agent wideouts Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. and make sure Fields has a chance to succeed in Year 1.”

Fields was Kiper’s third quarterback off the board. Trevor Lawrence expectedly went to the Jaguars with the first overall pick, while BYU’s Zach Wilson went fourth to the Atlanta Falcons.

Fields was a two-year starter at Ohio State after transferring from Georgia. In 2019, he had a fantastic season, totalling 41 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He wasn’t quite as impressive in this unique year, completing 22 touchdowns to six interceptions in just eight games played.

Fields has a big arm plus the mobility the Lions have been missing from the quarterback position under Stafford. There are questions about Fields’ ability to stay patient in the pocket and go through his progressions, but he undoubtedly has all the physical pieces necessary to be a franchise quarterback at the next level. Some will be hesitant to grab an Ohio State quarterback given the failures of other passers from that program (Dwayne Haskins, Cardale Jones, Terrelle Pryor), but each player should evaluated on their own.