DETROIT — Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn said Monday the club is open to taking a quarterback with the No. 8 pick in the draft if it deems someone worthy — even with veteran Matthew Stafford on the roster.
And it comes weeks after Quinn said Stafford was the team’s quarterback and would continue to be the team’s quarterback.
“We’ll consider any position in the draft at any point in time, whether it’s the eighth overall pick or we have multiple picks later in the draft,” Quinn said. “We’re in a position now with the eighth overall pick that the whole draft board is really wide open to us. We’re not going to really eliminate any prospects.
“In previous years, at least my last couple years here, we’ve drafted anywhere from 16 to 22 I believe. It’s a little bit different for us this year. There’s a few more players that are going to be available and if there’s a quarterback out there that we deem could help us this year or in the future, we’ll never close the door on that.”
The top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft are Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.
The topic came up as a question from a fan during the team’s annual season-ticket member summit, where fans lined up to ask questions of Quinn, team president Rod Wood and head coach Matt Patricia in the context of how teams in the league have been successful building with quarterbacks on rookie contracts offering more cap flexibility.
In recent years, Seattle (Russell Wilson) and the Los Angeles Rams (Jared Goff) have made the Super Bowl with quarterbacks on rookie contracts and the Eagles (Carson Wentz) and Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) have also built consistent contenders around signal-callers on rookie deals.
Patricia said sometimes those teams are built to be stacked on one side of the ball and when the quarterback has to be paid, they’ll have to take hits at other positions. Patricia said “it’s tricky water to kind of tread there when you kind of have those situations and we’re trying to balance the overall foundation of the team so that you’re competitive all the way across the board.”
Stafford is slated to make $29.5 million against the cap next season — $19 million of it guaranteed. If, as expected, Stafford is on the roster of the fifth day of the 2019 league year, he’ll have $6 million guaranteed to him in 2020.
The 31-year-old is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,777 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His yardage total was his lowest since the 2010 season; his touchdowns the fewest since 2012 and interceptions highest since 2015. His QBR of 53.8 was his lowest since 2014.
After last season, Quinn said he believed the Lions could win a Super Bowl with Stafford and backed what Patricia had said earlier, that they believe in Stafford as their quarterback.
“Matthew Stafford is our quarterback,” Quinn said on Jan. 4. “He will be our quarterback here. Listen, this guy is a really talented player and myself, the coaches, need to put him in better situations to allow him to use his skill set.”
That’s something Quinn and Patricia reiterated at the summit, saying they needed to upgrade the tight end position — calling it a priority — as well as find more offensive and defensive playmakers.