Yahoo Sports NFL Writers Charles McDonald and Jori Epstein talk about Charles’ latest mock draft in which he has the Detroit Lions selecting Anthony Richardson, and discuss how that pick would affect the future of the franchise.
CHARLES MCDONALD: The Lions pick Anthony Richardson with the sixth overall pick. This is the pick that they have from the Los Angeles Rams from the Stafford trade a couple of years ago. The most enticing thing about Anthony Richardson is, you're just not gonna find many guys that are like 6' 4", 235, 240, can throw like a baseball pitcher, and run, potentially, a 4.3 at the combine this week.
It's almost like the Josh Allen conundrum again, like, do you think that you have the infrastructure built up where you can get the most out of this guy? And if you can, there's an argument for taking him higher than number 6. But you also need to be prepared for the possibility that it doesn't work.
And I think that Detroit is kind of like the perfect team that's set up to take a swing like that, because you already have a starter that's kind of trenched in with Jared Goff, and he's even in a spot where he can get his contract extended for a year or two. And that gives you a buffer zone with someone like Anthony Richardson, where he can kind of sit and figure out the game and potentially take it to the next level. Even if he doesn't start, there's still a way where you can get him on the field in sub packages maybe. I think it's just an exciting thing just from where the Lions already have-- the talent they have stacked and the fact that they can give him a chance to sit and wait.
JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, I'm curious, if that happens, who you think will be starting this year and for how long. Because I was looking at Jared Goff, and it's like, OK, over the season last year, he completed 65% of his passes, 29 touchdowns to seven interceptions. That already is good numbers, very good numbers I should say. The last nine games, 67% completion rate, 15 touchdowns, no interceptions. Like the end of the year, not just that offense, but Jared Goff in that offense was really, really good.
And so I feel like, when you just think about the leadership, his experience in that offense, and the production we just saw, that Jared Goff would win a quarterback competition between himself and Anthony Richardson or any of the other quarterbacks. But does there get to a point where, even if it's not undermining his leadership within the locker room-- I mean, think about-- wasn't it like Pittsburgh last year where all the fans were yelling for Kenny Pickett? At what point does that become an issue? Because the way Jared Goff's contract is structured, where they can get out of it pretty easily without a whole lot of dead money either the next two years, that makes me feel like, yeah, definitely, you want that type of situation.
I think you give Anthony Richardson that time. I do think Jared Goff would win it for this year. And I think that they're a playoff-caliber team with the offense with Jared Goff leading it. But I guess at what point does it become a distraction, or is this actually like, no, Pittsburgh was doing that because Mitch Trubisky wasn't giving the organization what it wanted, and Jared Goff is, in theory, giving the organization what they need?
CHARLES MCDONALD: Well, it's tough because in those situations, man, the fans, they want to see the young guy. They want to--
JORI EPSTEIN: Right.
CHARLES MCDONALD: --see the new guy.
JORI EPSTEIN: It's the same people who want the mock drafts from us.
CHARLES MCDONALD: Right. Right. Right.
JORI EPSTEIN: They like the speculation and the what-ifs.
CHARLES MCDONALD: And it's like, in theory--
JORI EPSTEIN: Sometimes what you don't know is not better than what you do know, guys. That's your word of wisdom for the day.
CHARLES MCDONALD: There's always a fun theory, right, where you're a fan base and you're like, OK, well, we have this ball of potential just sitting and marinating on the bench, and, next year, he's gonna be ready. And then Jared Goff has a game where he throws three picks, and then you're like, OK, can we see Anthony Richardson play?
The Lions-- you have to ask yourself, all right, well, are we going to suck for the rest of the season to potentially be a Super Bowl contender next year? And I kind of think that they're at the point where they can make that decision because, as good as they look and as good as they're set up to be, it's not like they're Super Bowl contenders just yet. They still got a ways to go on defense I think, and there's still young talent at key parts of this offense. It's growing. I don't think they're quite there yet. But this is the landing spot for Anthony Richardson I think that makes the most sense.
JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, and I will say that if you're saying, like, hey, who do you trust more to let the quarterback sit for a hot second, the Lions or the Colts, think about how long the Lions, as an organization, have just accepted mediocrity. I trust them to accept it. I don't think Jared Goff is mediocre. Again, I think he was excellent the last half of the year, but it's like-- unlike Jim Irsay, who was like, oh, the fans are saying it. Well, let's just act. Let's go. Let's move. I do think that the Lions are more likely to be patient.
CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, because they have a little bit of a longer leash I think if they're still looking at this the right way. If they're not--
JORI EPSTEIN: Right.
CHARLES MCDONALD: I don't think they need to be playoff or bust yet. I think they're like a year away from probably needing to think like that. So this can still be an experimentation and tinker year as you'd really try to set up what's going to be a core of your team moving forward.