The stage is set for the Detroit Lions to draft Liberty quarterback (QB) Malik Willis in the top 5 in 2022, if the current regime stays in tact.
With Detroit being 0-5 and starting to get bit by the injury bug, there is little doubt they will finish as one of the worst teams again with one of the worst records.
While all this is happening, it has also become rather clear that QB Jared Goff is not the answer. He looks only like a shell of his old Rams’ self and he leads the league in fumbles. The tools are all still there – – but his confidence continues to fade, which is why we are seeing the inconsistencies.
While it is maybe hard to imagine this current regime could go “one and done.” It is not outside the realm of possibility. After doing little to address the receiving and secondary positions last off-season, besides bring in a bunch of back-up types and undrafted free agents, one has got to wonder. Detroit insisted on returning all the same faces in the secondary after that same exact secondary ranked 31st in pass coverage in 2020. Detroit also did really nothing to address the receiver position either, after letting their best pure receiver Kenny Golladay walk in free agency.
Add in the fact their first round pick, offensive tackle Penei Sewell is struggling. Plus, Detroit is getting limited production and under 50% snap count time, plus zero sacks out of their second and third round defensive line picks and yeah, it is conceivable this could be it for the new regime.
The only thing they really have done is give away the face of their franchise, Matthew Stafford, to the Rams in exchange for two first rounders and a third round pick and take defensive end Michael Brockers off the Rams’ hands, when he refused to take a pay-cut.
Ironically, new Detroit GM Brad Holmes got hired away from the…you guessed it, the Rams.
This sets the stage for the selection of QB Malik Willis, if this regime makes it one more year. Willis is an extremely raw, but very dynamic talent who could give Detroit their most electrifying player since running back Barry Sanders.
As someone who covers the Detroit Lions for Sports Illustrated, I am not advocating for this to be the pick. I am just saying this is going to be the pick.
With such a limited defense and depletion of upper echelon talent at the wide receiver position, Detroit is going to have to make a real splash if they have any chance of being able to sell hope.
Willis would bring a dynamic presence to this team that will sell jerseys and tickets. From there, his inexperience to throw a standard route tree will become apparent along with his tendencies to pat the ball pre-delivery, and lock in with his receivers. However, his ability to run the ball and create something out of nothing will get fans back out of their seats cheering. Willis at least will make losing far more entertaining and exciting.
There is just no way Detroit can send the card in and we hear it is some boring guard or safety. The Lions would have to cancel Christmas if it is anything other than a QB – – and probably if it is anybody outside of Willis.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.