Last Season, many fans of the Detroit Lions were rooting for former quarterback Matthew Stafford. After twelve seasons with the Lions, Stafford was acquired by the Los Angeles Rams in January of 2021. The longtime quarterback was the only glimmer of hope during much of his tenure with the team. This created a connection, a connection that even followed him to Los Angeles.
The Rams won Super Bowl LVI, and were led by Stafford. Some Lions fans were rooting for Stafford to win this game due to all he had done both for the Lions and the city of Detroit.
However, this win had a substantial impact on the Detroit Lions. One of the important details of the trade that impacted the future of the Detroit Lions is the picks that the team received from the trade.
The Lions sent Stafford to the Rams in exchange for the Rams’ first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023, a third-round pick in 2021, along with quarterback Jared Goff. The position of these picks is all dependent on how well the Rams perform.
The 2022 first-round draft pick was initially the 32nd overall pick because the Rams won the Super Bowl. However, the Lions used this pick in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings in order to trade up, sending picks 32, 34 and 66 for picks 12 and 46. With the number 12 selection, the Lions chose Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, and with the number 46 selection, Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal.
While the trade somewhat made the position of the pick meaningless, this is still something to be concerned about for the 2023 NFL Draft.
If the Lions hope to continue building through the draft, the position of the pick is vital in adding game-changing pieces.
One of the options that the Lions may consider at the end of the season is if they move on from quarterback Jared Goff. If the Lions want to be in the mix for one of the top college quarterbacks, they will need the Rams to be significantly worse than they were last season.
Based on upgrades already made, the Lions should be outside of the first few draft picks when the season ends. If the Lions end the season in the middle of the pack, they will need another middle of the pack draft pick to possibly trade up for either Alabama quarterback Bryce Young or Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Even if the Lions choose to stick with Goff, the position of the pick is still crucial. Two picks in the middle could allow the Lions to have two of the best young players in the draft class. This would be similar to what the New York Jets or the New Orleans Saints were able to do in the 2022 Draft.
These additions would allow Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell to continue to build on the foundation they have established. Now that Matthew Stafford has achieved the ultimate goal, a Super Bowl, it’s time for Lions fans to let go and start focusing on their own future.