For as much as I've written about Jared Goff and his fit with the Detroit Lions, after last week's utter implosion, it seems appropriate to start talking about what quarterbacks the Detroit Lions could target in 2023. The answers to who can play behind center for Detroit range from free agency to trades to the draft itself. There is no short amount of answers for the Lions next year but here are five that could help the Detroit Lions at quarterback in 2023.
Who could be the Detroit Lions quarterback in 2023?
1 Will Levis, Kentucky Wildcats
My top target for the Lions is a guy who right now is being mocked extremely high by every NFL scouting site. Will Levis is the signal caller for a ranked Kentucky Wildcats team that is currently 4-2 and #22 in the country. On the year, Levis has 1405 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, a 68.8% completion percentage, and four interceptions. The word on the street for Levis is quite favorable:
Will Levis fits the prototypical mold for quarterbacks. He has a big and strong frame to shrug off nearby defenders. His arm talent is evident—the ball pops off his arm with little effort. He’s able to complete far-hash-to-sideline throws with proper zip and velocity. Levis’ mobility and frame expand the offense’s play-calling. He can effectively run QB power, sweeps, and counters. His mobility is a real asset in the red zone, forcing defenses to play 11 on 11. He operates a pro-style system that is based on timing and rhythm. His experience under center with play-action drops and boots bodes well for his NFL transition. His short-area accuracy is good and consistent. His throwing mechanics are clean and smooth.Damien Parson, The Draft Network
Levis is big at 6'3”, 232 lbs, and the exact type of thrower that Detroit really needs downfield. One of Jared Goff‘s greatest limitations is that he cannot take the top off the defense with the weapons that he has, Levis can fix this.
2 Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ershttp://gty.im/1432974833
Ol' reliable himself also joins this list. There are serious questions about whether San Fran would even be willing to let Jimmy G go into free agency, but if he is, this is a guy the Lions absolutely should look for. More than just a stopgap, Jimmy G has proven time and again in his time in San Francisco that he is more than capable of leading a contender in the NFC. Right after Trey Lance went down for the 49ers, Garoppolo filled the void and San Francisco hasn't looked better this season. Despite all the noise and all the emotional turmoil over the last two seasons for Garoppolo, he has proven to be steady and reliable in a way this Detroit team desperately needs right now.
3 Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The inevitable has arrived, and with it, my tepid endorsement of this pick. On the positive side, Lamar in a Lions uniform creates an offense with arguably one of the most terrifying offensive attacks since the 2007 New England Patriots. Lamar Jackson with his speed paired with a healthy Detroit line and the running game and weapons around him would put up numbers, no doubt. I am tepid on this move however due to not only cost but fit considering that Detroit looks more like a bruising team that needs their backs getting the ball.
Baltimore under Lamar has shied away from their known identity of solid running behind a dynamic running back in favor of catering toward his skills. It has clearly won the Ravens' games, but it has molded their offense into something John Harbaugh had not created in his tenure in Baltimore previously. The fear with Lamar in Detroit is the same, that the team would amalgamate with Lamar rather than fit him in as the missing piece of the offense. Also, come playoff time, we still have no clue whether Lamar can be trusted. His passing has greatly improved thus far in 2022 but when the weather turns colder, the defenses tighten up, and the schemes change to control him better, how good is he?
4 Bryce Young, Alabama Crimson Tide
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has accolades for days and skills galore. He is almost assuredly the #1 overall pick unless something really crazy happens. Bryce Young is on this list however because the Lions very well may be in a position to have the #1 pick depending on how this season goes after the bye week. Injury concerns aside, there may be no quarterback with greater upside than Bryce Young on this list, and the reasons start and end with this play.
Young has better measurables than Kyler Murray, he has grit and awareness equal to any scrambler in college, and he's won on the highest levels of the game. Young can be a dynamic thrower and able to maneuver around the pocket in a way everyone except Lamar on this list simply can't. The primary concern involves the shoulder injury he suffered but Saturday's game on the road at Tennessee will go a long way to quelling those concerns. I personally find Young to be surprisingly poised as a pocket passer for his age and that could pay dividends with a Detroit offense that is only a piece away from being league-leading for years to come.
5 Daniel Jones, New York Giantshttp://gty.im/1431954133
This selection is entirely situational so hear me out, please. There is hope in New York that Brian Daboll may have righted the turnover wrongs of Jones from his previous seasons. Through five games, the improvement is clearly there even if he isn't lighting up the world. What I propose is if the Lions double down this draft on defense and use their entire treasure trove of picks on that side of the ball, signing Jones on a short term, prove it deal does not sound like the worst option in the world. Jones is more mobile than Goff by a mile and has the potential so long as he can keep his turnovers in check to be a better game manager than Goff is while Brad Holmes attempts to reset the putrid defensive side of the ball.
I understand it isn't a ringing endorsement, but if Seattle can sign 32-year-old Geno Smith and get a solid year out of him, I see no reason Detroit can't either. In order to plug the gaping holes of the defense, this may be a risky move that could pay off in 2023.