It is a strange feeling.
With Drew Stanton leaving for the Indianapolis Colts, via the New York Jets, the Detroit Lions are left with a vacancy at third-string quarterback. Quality teams see the later rounds of the Draft as a perfect opportunity to draft project quarterbacks who can grow and develop within the system. Then after several years, these projects either mature into starting roles, mature into busts, or mature in to nice juicy trade bait.
For the first time in many years, the Lions are in a position to draft a quarterback in the later rounds who will not immediately compete for the starting job. He is also not likely to create quarterback controversy. He could just quietly stow himself away in the background and work very hard at becoming the next Matt Flynn, preferably while he is still under contract and/or tradeable.
The question is "who?"
Two very interesting prospects appear to be ripe for the picking at around the fourth or fifth round. But they also present an interesting debate. Which would you prefer?
The first candidate is Russell Wilson from Wisconsin.
During the 2011 season, as a quarterback he was outstanding. He had the highest accuracy rating in Division I football. He has a powerful arm, easily able to throw the ball both down the field and across it. He has a high football IQ and shows sound split-second decision-making ability. He doesn't throw into trouble and reads coverages with ease. Finally, he is mobile and elusive yet still has his eyes downfield looking for the big play. He would be in the conversation with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were it not for one small problem.
He's short. Really short. He's the guy who poses for bowling trophies...
OK, he really not that short. But at 5'11", he is likely to still be available in the fourth or fifth round.
The second candidate that pops out is Ryan Lindley.
He represents the other side of the coin. He is 6'4". He has a prototypical quarterback build, with good footwork and throwing motion. He also has the power to make both the downfield and cross field passes.
However, he also completes a consistent 55% of his passes. By consistent, we mean four years worth of consistency, and for those keeping score at home, that's about 12% lower than you want your quarterback to have.
It makes for an interesting debate. Who do you pick? Do you take the guy with the ideal body type and delivery. Do you spend the next three years having him memorize his offense and work on improving his decision-making skills in the hope that they will improve? Or do you take the guy who has the mind, the arm, the experience, and who jumps up and down in the backfield to see over everybody?
Or do you take someone totally different? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
And we've got nothing but time to think about them.