The reward for being the NFL's worst team in 2020 was Trevor Lawrence, the best quarterback prospect in some time. The reward for being the worst team in 2021? Well, that player will likely fall well short of Lawrence's hype.
Still, bottom-tier teams with no shot of contending for a Super Bowl should be striving for the No. 1 draft slot to avoid ending up in “quarterback purgatory,” or building a roster around a subpar arm.
Now that the roster construction process of the NFL offseason is largely complete, we now know the frontrunners of the rebuilding process and those most likely to receive the highly coveted first overall pick in 2022. Let’s dive in.
Notable Offseason Moves:
- Traded QB Matthew Stafford to LAR for QB Jared Goff, 2021 third-rounder, 2022 first-rounder and 2023 first-rounder
- Traded a 2023 seventh-rounder to LAR for DI Michael Brockers
- Cut CB Desmond Trufant, CB Justin Coleman, TE Jesse James, C Russell Bodine, LB Christian Jones, QB Chase Daniel and DI Danny Shelton
- Re-signed EDGE Romeo Okwara and LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
- Signed TE Josh Hill, WR Tyrell Williams, RB Jamaal Williams, QB Tim Boyle, EDGE Charles Harris, K Randy Bullock, WR Breshad Perriman and LB Alex Anzalone
2021 NFL Draft Class:
R1 (7): OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
R2 (41): DI Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
R3 (72): DI Alim McNeill, NC State
R3 (101): CB Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
R4 (112): WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
R4 (113): LB Derrick Barnes, Purdue
R7 (257): RB Jermar Jefferson, Oregon State
Lions Projected Starting Lineup for 2021
|QB Jared Goff||DI Michael Brockers|
|RB D’Andre Swift||DI Da’Shawn Hand|
|WR Breshad Perriman||EDGE Trey Flowers|
|WR Tyrell Williams||EDGE Romeo Okwara|
|WR Amon-Ra St. Brown||LB Jamie Collins Sr.|
|TE T.J. Hockenson||LB Jahlani Tavai|
|LT Taylor Decker||CB Amani Oruwariye|
|LG Jonah Jackson||CB Jeff Okudah|
|C Frank Ragnow||Slot Mike Ford|
|RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai||S Will Harris|
|RT Penei Sewell||S Tracy Walker|
Detroit ranks 32nd out of 32 teams in non-quarterback Wins Above Replacement (WAR) from 2020 on their current roster. Wide receiver was a pressing need for them in the 2021 NFL Draft, as they entered Day 1 with Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams — both of whom have just one single-season PFF grade north of 70.0 in six years — as their top two targets. And Detroit left the weekend in Cleveland with those two still being WR1 and WR2.
Instead, the Lions chose to build their team from the inside out by attacking the trenches with their first-, second- and third-round picks. That's not much of a surprise considering that new head coach Dan Campbell talked about how his squad will kick the opposition in the teeth and bite a kneecap off in his introductory press conference.
With how much help quarterback Jared Goff got in Los Angeles from his supporting cast and scheme, things could get ugly in the short-term in the Motor City. In Goff’s four years with the Rams, he had the third-highest percentage of his passing yards come after the catch (49.6%) and ranked third-to-last in turnover-worthy plays (88).