The Detroit Lions have been out of the quarterback market for five years, making the relatively weak 2013 draft class seemingly irrelevant for them. On closer inspection, however, the situation could prove a hindrance as they prepare to make the No. 5 overall pick on April 25.
NFL teams have selected at least one quarterback among the top five picks of every draft since 2001. A total of 16 quarterbacks have been top-5 choices over that 12-year span. But this quarterback class is uncertain enough, and there are enough questions about top prospect Geno Smith, that it's reasonable to wonder if the streak is about to end.
If it does, the Lions will face more competition for a non-quarterback than any No. 5 team in more than a decade. If they decide they want a left tackle, they could conceivably lose out on the top two prospects: Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner could be gone as well, as could Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
That, of course, is assuming the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles all pass on Smith preceding the Lions' pick. I wouldn't call any of those teams' quarterback situations locked down, but three of the four have taken action to put a starter in place for 2013.
The Chiefs traded for Alex Smith and signed Chase Daniel as a backup, the Raiders traded for Matt Flynn and the Eagles re-signed Michael Vick. Only the Jaguars, who are two years removed from making Blaine Gabbert the No. 10 overall pick of the 2011 draft, have stood pat.
There is always the possibility that a quarterback-starved team would trade into the top five to draft Smith. However it happens, the Lions and their fans should be rooting for someone to grow enamored with Smith -- and soon.