As we inch closer to the NFL regular season with the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the up-and-coming Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Kickoff, we remind ourselves that an NFL season is fragile. One injury can cause a season to come unglued. The importance of the backup QB in the NFL has never been greater.
The Lions have one of the more fascinating QB depth charts in the NFL, and today, we take a closer look.
Detroit Lions Could Turn to Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater learned his QB craft as a prep in the Miami, FL area, before ascending to a three-year starter during his Louisville collegiate career. Touted for his accuracy, Bridgewater entered the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Bridgewater with the final pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Bridgewater’s NFL career began with great promise through his first two seasons. But it took a horrendous turn with a devastating knee injury that had many questioning whether Bridgewater would ever play football again.
— NFL Jersey Numbers (@nfl_jersey_num) August 14, 2023
The knee injury and rehab cost Bridgewater the better part of two seasons, but he did return to the NFL. Bridgewater rebuilt his NFL career as the understudy for Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Bridgewater would play when Brees missed games due to injury and performed well — and the rest of the league took notice. The Carolina Panthers signed Bridgewater to be their starting QB.
MORE: QB Power Rankings 2023
Bridgewater’s Panthers’ tenure didn’t last long. Carolina dealt Bridgewater to the Denver Broncos the following offseason. He played one year with Denver before heading to Miami on a one-year pact.
Detroit flirted with Bridgewater off and on during the offseason before finally signing the veteran signal-caller as their backup QB.
Who Is Nate Sudfeld?
Nate Sudfeld began his NFL journey when he was selected by the Washington franchise in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Sudfeld played his college ball at Indiana.
Sudfeld was inactive all season, serving as the third-string QB behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.
Mark Brunell said he told Dan Campbell as soon as Nate Sudfeld goes through some of his necessary rehab, he wants him right back in the building.
He's that valuable of a resource to the QB room.
— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 4, 2023
Following his Washington tenure, Sudfeld spent four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he occasionally saw playing time.
Sudfeld was part of the Eagles’ organization when they won the Super Bowl.
Sudfeld’s Philadelphia career was highlighted by his first appearance in an NFL regular season game. Sudfeld completed 19 of 23 passes, setting an NFL record for best completion percentage in an NFL debut, completing 83% of his passes.
Following his Philadelphia tenure, Sudfeld spent a “cup of coffee” with the 49ers but never saw game action. The Lions signed Sudfeld as a backup, but unfortunately, on August 25, Sudfeld tore his ACL in preseason and is now out for the 2023 NFL regular season.
Who Is Hendon Hooker?
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 10, 2023
The Lions drafted Hooker in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Hooker suffered a knee injury last season, knocking him down draft boards.