The Detroit Lions are ramping up their pre-draft visits, and they continue to do their due diligence with the top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. The latest interesting name to come across the list of their top-30 visits: Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Lions will be hosting Stroud on a pre-draft visit later this week.
Stroud is arguably the top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft class. As a two-year starter at Ohio State, Stroud threw 85 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions, completing an impressive 69.3 percent of his passes along the way. He’s one of the most consistently accurate passers in this year’s class, and brings enough mobility to act as a dual-threat quarterback, even if he didn’t use his legs as much as he should have in college.
The Lions’ interest in Stroud could be read a few different ways. For one, they could simply be studying the quarterback class to help try to identify how the top of the draft will play out. As Lions general manager Brad Holmes said in 2021 when the team had the seventh overall pick, it’s always smart to evaluate the top quarterbacks in the draft when picking that high.
“Iit’s smart drafting business anyways, that when you’re picking in the top 10 that you know that quarterback class very thoroughly,” Holmes said.
Of course, the Lions could have serious interest in Stroud as a prospect as well. The Lions have hidden their intentions about drafting a franchise quarterback this year. Both Holmes and coach Dan Campbell have reaffirmed their belief in Goff as their current starter, but at the same time, both have intimated that they will be looking at the quarterbacks in this year’s draft.
“We believe we can win with Jared Goff, and in the meantime, we also know he’s not going to be here for the next 10 years,” Campbell said during NFL Combine week. “It’s not like Jared Goff is a rookie. So certainly our eyes are on potentially a quarterback. The question is where do you acquire that at? And that’s something that Brad and I kick around all the time. But we don’t feel like we’re pressed right now. We don’t feel like we’re pressed, but that doesn’t mean our eyes aren’t on a quarterback.”
Holmes, at the very least, admitted this team is looking to add competition behind Goff this offseason—something the Lions have failed to do thus far.
“We’re happy with Jared, he’s our starter, but we need to add some pieces in that room overall,” Holmes said.
Stroud is the third of the projected top 5 quarterbacks to meet with the Lions this offseason. They previously met with Florida’s Anthony Richardson at the NFL Combine and brought in QB Hendon Hooker for a top 30 visit as well. Additionally, the Lions reportedly met with a few Day 3/UDFA signal callers, including Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell at his Pro Day, Adrian Martinez, Kansas State/Nebraska also came in for a Top 30 visit, and Eastern Michigan’s Taylor Powell was at the Lions local pro day.
Follow along with all the offseason meetings in our 2023 NFL offseason visits tracker.