In yesterday’s Notes, we mentioned that Ric Serritella’s mock draft sent BYU quarterback Zach Wilson to the Lions at seventh overall. It turns out many more mock drafts are sending a new quarterback to the Lions, but very few name Wilson as the particular player taken at that spot. MLive’s Ben Raven conducted a tour of the various mock drafts out there, including the following:
- Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo
- The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid
- The Draft Network’s Ben Solak
- Pro Football Network’s Tommy Garrett
- Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre
- ESPN’s Mel Kiper
- ESPN’s Todd McShay
- CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards
- CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso
- CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson
- The Athletic’s Dane Brugler
- USA Today’s Nate Davis
- NBC Sports Chicago’s Glynn Morgan
12 of those 15 mock drafts (80 percent!) were for quarterbacks, but only Morgan from NBC Sports Chicago placed Zach Wilson on the Lions. The three mock drafts that did not send quarterbacks to the Lions all chose wide receivers instead: LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase or Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle.
Which one (or two) will be the pick? We’ll let Ben Raven tell you since he did the legwork to track down all the takes. For an alternative, you could also check out Erik Schlitt’s mock draft roundup at Lions Wire, which has a few different mock drafts included. Schlitt’s article adds:
- Pro Football Network’s Oliver Hodgkinson
- The San-Diego Union-Tribune’s Eddie Brown
- NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt
Not surprisingly, all three also named a hot quarterback prospect as the selection at seventh overall for the Lions. What’s kind of interesting is that Schlitt added a section at the bottom that considered the returns from trading Stafford. What would be done in those scenarios if not a quarterback? One of the same wide receivers named above (Chase or Waddle).
This is interesting, because in spite of coming off a horrendous defensive season, the sense of the overwhelming majority of mock draft punditry out there believes the Lions must use their top selection(s) to replace either Matthew Stafford or Kenny Golladay. Or maybe even both, if they have multiple first round picks when the trading activity dust settles. Certainly, the team’s needs will clear up once we know whether or not Golladay returns to the team next season, but it sure seems like the experts are looking at this draft to produce a quarterback of the future for Mark Brunell to help develop.
Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- For those who have been wondering what Mark Brunell was doing after he retired as a player, he was developing (very) young football players as a high school head coach in Florida:
From Jacksonville Episcopal, where new Lions CBS coach Mark Brunell coached the past 8 years: pic.twitter.com/dA1D0ekr0o— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 29, 2021
- Former NFL general manager of Houston and Washington Charley Casserly said on NFL Network that he “wouldn’t even think twice” about giving a first-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year for Matthew Stafford in a trade if he were a playoff team GM that needed a quarterback.
- The Athletic’s Chris Burke wrote a detailed account of process that led to the hiring of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell. I have not read it (subscription required), but have it on good authority from our Fearless Leader that the article is solid.
- Lions fans should know that Dan Campbell’s fiery introductory press conference could have gone much differently:
- ESPN’s Seth Walder had an interesting Twitter thread showing route usage by Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Apparently, Tom Brady is really good when targeting crossing routes and the Chiefs threw a ton of outside short and pivot routes this season.
- Finishing on a fun note unrelated to the Lions, Esquire magazine’s Chris Jones recounted the tale of how he went about actually finding Ricky Williams in the middle of nowhere in Australia after the former NFL running back chose to disappear (hat tip to MLive’s Kyle Meinke for coming across this gem).
I called Peter from the bank of pay phones outside the campground. He couldn’t believe it. “What? Found who?” Ricky and I spent eight wonderful days together. Whale watching. Playing poker. Getting super high with a Gandalf-looking guy named Mystic Steve.— Chris Jones (@EnswellJones) January 29, 2021
Read the whole thread from the beginning. It is amazing.