Writing for USA Today’s FTW site, PODcast friend Robert Zeglinski argued for drafting Liberty University quarterback Malik Willis with the second overall pick in the upcoming project. Among the factors he lists that make Detroit a good game for Willis is the quality of the offensive line (which is great) and the presence of a starting veteran starter (Goff), reducing the need to rush Willis into the starting lineup prematurely. In particular, Zeglinski hopes the Lions won’t try too hard to pursue rumored trade calls they’ve made for the pick because the opportunity to sign a potentially special quarterback is so rare.
However, the seriousness of these selection requests is unclear. In Thursday’s notes, we mentioned that ESPN’s Todd McShay told reporters he didn’t think the Lions should draft any quarterback second overall; not even Malik Willis. In Call Tracking Reports like the one filed by Justin Rogers of the Detroit NewsTurns out McShay also doubts Lions can get solid commercial offers for choice. “It sucks for Detroit this year because there’s no elite quarterback they can fix that going forward,” McShay said according to Rogers. ESPN’s draft expert suggested that the lack of (what he perceives to be) quality quarterbacks as well as the relative abundance of offensive and cutting tackle could reduce the value of the pick by making it less important to the most teams to have an extremely early selection.
Analysis expert Seth Walder of ESPN posted numbers on social media to back up McShay’s position on the quality of quarterbacks in the draft. Based on the percentage of completion compared to expectations (i.e. the likelihood that they have completed the collars they actually threw than the average quarterback), Walder remains unimpressed with this year’s quarterback crop compared to what was available last year:
Percentage of completion above expectations in 2021
Same stat among first-round FBS QBs in 2020
—Seth Walder (@SethWalder) March 31, 2022
When someone asked about expected points added per game (EPA/P) Walder directed the questioner to ESPN Total QBRwhich he said was “basically the same thing.” Judging by where 2021 draft-eligible quarterbacks appear in the Total QBR rankings, it’s unlikely Walder was impressed using that Neither does metric.
the numbers aren’t everything, but. What about all this incredibly awesome movie and ridiculous athletics and throws? Seems to be a perfect cultural match also. None of this is an exact science, which is why opinions are everywhere. Are defenders like Zeglinski, Samuel Gold of Field Gullsor our own Ryan Mathews right as Willis and his rocket arm is worth catching early in the first round? If not Willis, are any of the other quarterbacks worth picking up this early? (hint: No.) Even if the Lions wanted to trade second place to take Willis later or take someone else, could they even do it? McShay seems to think not.
Unfortunately, there is no magic “correct” answer as to whether or not the Lions should start a new QB future with their best selection. Now that Willis solid pro day workout is in the books, expect there to be endless speculation over the next four weeks as to whether or not he is the pick. With that, we’ll move on to the rest of today’s notes:
- Replacement quarterback Tim Boyle gets to work this offseason:
- Longtime Oakland Press reporter Paula Pasche’s last day at the paper was Friday: