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Detroit Lions ‘don’t have any doubts’ in Jared Goff, but keeping QB on the table for draft

The Lions seem to love Jared Goff. But that doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about taking a quarterback in the draft.

Divisional Round - Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes joined the Huddle and Flow podcast, and due to NFL rules, he couldn’t openly talk about acquiring Jared Goff in a blockbuster trade. So when he was asked if any potential trade-on-hold would cause him to take the quarterback position off the board for the seventh-overall pick in April’s draft, Holmes didn’t hesitate.

“Oh no. No. Absolutely not,” Holmes said. “I don’t think when you’re picking this high that you can be out on any position.”

But on Friday afternoon, free to talk about Goff—who was in the room just off-screen—did the Lions general manager change his tune? No... well... not really.

“When you’re picking inside the top 10, you’re not in a position to ignore any positions. You’re just not. The quarterback position is very important and if the value is there and if the right guy is there then he’d be in every consideration.”

But the rest of Jared Goff’s introductory press conference involved the Lions—both Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell—throwing their full and unwavering support behind Goff. They went as far as to say that they have no doubts about Goff being a starting quarterback in this league.

“His resume speaks for himself,” Holmes said. “He’s a proven winner. So for him to compete for the starting quarterback position and winning the starting quarterback position, I definitely expect him to reclaim that status. I’ve never had any doubts that he can be.”

Campbell, with as much gusto as he always seems to have, said Goff is exactly the kind of player they were looking for when envisioning the people that would fit this franchise’s mold.

“There are three things that I think about with Jared Goff: He’s tough, he’s durable, and, most importantly, he’s a winner,” Campbell said. “He has won in this league. He knows how to win.”

Holmes, himself, had a big reason why Goff’s career took off as a Los Angeles Ram. Serving as the team’s director of college scouting at the time, Holmes was asked by Rams general manager Les Snead if there was any quarterback in the 2016 class he’d be in favor of moving up from 15th all the way to the first-overall pick to grab.

“Yeah, I’d do it for Goff,” he told Snead.

Goff’s career in Los Angeles got off to a hot start. Though he sat for the first half of his rookie season, by the time he was “The Guy” in 2017, he hit the ground running. He made the Pro Bowl in his first two years as a full-time starter, culminating in an appearance in the Super Bowl in just his third season in the NFL.

But things have cooled considerably since then. The Rams offense, which had grown to be one of the most feared in the NFL, fell to 11th in points scored in 2019 and 22nd in 2020. Goff went from a passer rating of 100.8 and 8.2 yards per attempt in 2017 and 2018, to a rating of 88.1 and just 7.3 yards per attempt in his two most recent seasons combined.

However, Holmes doesn’t view his job as getting Goff back to where he used to be, because he hasn’t seen a true drop off in his play.

“I’m not sure if I’m following where he actually dropped off,” Holmes responded to a local reporter. “I’m not sure about the ‘get back.’ He’s won a lot of games throughout his tenure with the Rams. Jared just has to be Jared.”

Later adding:

“Not really sure about him ‘getting back,’ but we will make sure that he is surrounded with the right pieces in place, the right structure in place. We have a phenomenal coaching staff. So we don’t have any doubts that he can still be the winner that he’s always proven to be going forward.”

Again, no doubts.

So even if the Lions do find the right guy and the right value in a quarterback with the seventh-overall pick, don’t expect him to supplant Goff right away. This team appears to believe in their newly acquired quarterback, and they don’t see anyone else starting behind center in 2021.

“I do expect Jared to come in and start to be our starting quarterback. I don’t see anything other than that.”

Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see.