on Monday, Ohio State Quarterback CJ Stroud has finally made the decision to announce his 2023 start NFL Draft. There were some rumors that he was seriously considering returning, and Stroud waited until the last day to finally announce his decision.
“The process was tough, and the decision, it was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make,” Stroud said he said in a statement on Twitter. “As a child, I dreamed of playing football at the highest level and after praying, I made the decision that it was time to turn those dreams into reality.”
Obviously, when a top 10 player announces for the draft, he’s going to have a huge impact on the draft, and that’s especially true when he’s the quarterback. So let’s take a closer look at how it will affect the 2023 NFL Draft, and more importantly, how it will affect the Detroit Lions.
Speculation that the Lions would take a quarterback would continue
If you listened to the end-of-season press conferences from coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes, you’re probably making fun of this one. Both Campbell and Holmes unequivocally threw their support behind Jared Goff, and Holmes even got a bit of a (comic) audition with a reporter who suggested considering the quarterback early in the draft.
“I think it’s easier to get worse at quarterback than it is to get better at quarterback in this league,” said Holmes. “And so, I think what Jared has done this year, is — captain a ship out of the top three and I want to say he’s ranked in the top 10 statistically in most categories passed.”
Unfortunately, that won’t stop any speculation. We went through that last year, and now that there are three top-10 prospects in Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Kentucky’s Will Levis, the Lions probably have one shot with the sixth overall pick.
I would still be shocked if the Lions go midfield early, but with options on the table, expect speculation to continue. And while as a fan that would be a little frustrating, the more confusion surrounding Detroit’s intentions, the better.
Most likely, the Lions could get an elite defensive talent
The Lions finished the season with the worst defense in the league by yardage, and General Manager Brad Holmes basically said they’re going to make a solid effort to improve this aspect of the ball this year.
“Obviously our defense ranked 32ndAbbreviation IISo I mean it’s very clear that we’re going to have to use some resources to try and improve that defense,” Holmes said.
Stroud’s draft keeps hope alive that elite defensive talent is infiltrating Detroit. Without Stroud in the mix, it would have been near impossible to see Alabama’s standout defenseman Will Anderson or Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter go back to six, but now there’s an opportunity. There are a lot of teams that need a quarterback at the top of the draft standings (TexasThe Colts, Raiders, Falcons, and Panthers are all in the top 10), which means that three quarterbacks making it into the top five isn’t excluded. If that happens, Anderson, Carter, or a higher-in-class defenseman will be available to Detroit.
the Chicago Bears“The first overall pick just got a little less valuable
With the first overall pick, a slate full of needs across the board, and no draft pressure for a quarterback, the Bears may mark “for sale” against Halas Hall in this offseason.
With so many teams in need of a quarterback at the top of the draft, the Bears are in a really good position to trade a prospect. But with Stroud’s announcement, teams may not be scrambling to get that top pick. If general managers have similar scores to Stroud, Levis and Young, they’ll wait rather than spend most of their draft capital to trade up to No. 1.
Dropping a competitor’s top pick value is always good news for the Lions.
“Typical food guru. Problem solver. Devoted beer practitioner. Professional reader. Baconaholic.”