The 2022 NFL Draft saw an almost unprecedented fall in the quarterback class this year. Not only was the first quarterback taken off the board later than expected—Kenny Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 20th overall—but there were zero quarterbacks taken in the second round at all. It was the first time since 2013 that fewer than two quarterbacks were taken in the first round, and the first time since 2000 that only one quarterback was taken in the first two rounds.
The Detroit Lions were seen as a team who could be interested in selecting a quarterback this year, and they certainly did their homework on the class, getting close looks at Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett in top-30 visits to Allen Park and getting their literal hands on several prospects at the Senior Bowl a few months backs. But when the opportunity arose several different times throughout Thursday and Friday night—at Picks 2, 12, 46 and even 97—the Lions opted to pass each time.
After Day 2 was over, Lions general manager Brad Holmes was asked if he was surprised to see teams avoiding this year’s quarterback class, and he had to pause for a second to make sure he wasn’t being insulting.
“I looked at the quarterbacks and I thought that they were taken where we thought they should have been taken, at least from our standpoint,” Holmes said. “I didn’t see it as they were being mistreated or not being taken fairly. I just think they were evaluated properly.”
To translate into less coded language: Brad Holmes did not like this year’s quarterback. And given that he did plenty of research on this year’s class, it’s more than fair to trust his judgment—especially when it seems all of the NFL evaluators across the league felt similarly.
Eventually, four total quarterbacks were taken in the first two days of the draft. Desmond Ridder went to the Falcons with Pick 74, Malik Willis—who many Lions fans were asking for at Pick 2—fell all the way to 86 to the Titans, and Matt Corral was taken by the Panthers at 94.
The Lions, meanwhile, will move forward with Jared Goff as their unchallenged starter in 2022, which should not be a big surprise considering how much this staff has vocally supported him this offseason.