The Detroit Lions have been hearing from both sides in recent weeks as it relates to whether or not they should pursue Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 NFL Draft, and one of their former quarterbacks has officially cast his vote.
Speaking from the Super Bowl, former Lions backup Dan Orlovsky filmed a video with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and Birkett asked Orlovsky about his take on the situation everyone in Detroit is debating.
Take Tagovailoa or not? According to Orlovsky, the answer is a simple one, and it’s a no thanks to the situation the Lions currently find themselves in.
“I think very highly of Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. They have to win. A lot of times when you take a player, but mainly a quarterback, your job security is based on performance. If he does well, you’re going to have a job. If he doesn’t, you’re going to get fired,” Orlovsky explained. “Tua is a totally different animal. Not only is your job security tied to Tua’s performance, it’s also tied to his health. It’s going to take a general manager and a head coach that are safe in their position to draft Tua that early.”
The other issue, as Orlovsky sees it, is due to Tagovailoa’s injury, which is a real factor for teams.
“There is the potential that injury is a real thing. And we don’t know right now. I think Tua is going to be a great pro, but the reality is what it is,” he said. “For a team to take him at 3, and the coach and the general manager need to win, I don’t think a team should take Tua with the anticipation that he will play next year.”
It’s possible the Lions could take Tagovailoa and stash him, but Orlovsky said in the clip he doesn’t believe that to be a good idea either for a team that needs to win and already has a solid quarterback on the roster.
ESPN’s Bart Scott Wants Lions Drafting Tua Tagovailoa
An opposite opinion has been presented by ESPN’s Bart Scott. According to Scott, Detroit must take Tua Tagovailoa and start over by dealing Matthew Stafford. It’s the only way Scott sees the team moving forward and crafting a brighter future for themselves.
“I think about that sweet spot. The sweet spot for me is the third pick with the Detroit Lions,” Scott recently said on Get Up. “I don’t see how the Detroit Lions let Tua Tagovailoa get past them.”
According to Scott, who’s said before that Stafford should be on the move via trade this offseason, the timing is perfect for the Lions to start over with a talented young player in Tagovailoa.
“They understand they have had Matthew Stafford. He’s only 31 years old. We’ve seen what it looks like to have Stafford for 11 years. You’re not going to win a Super Bowl with him,” Scott said. “If you’re a struggling coach in this league, you want to press the reset button. You can’t let a guy with arm talent and vision get away. This is your opportunity to get a young gun, start off young, and really be able to trade Matthew Stafford to get some picks to start over with a young core.”
As Scott said, depth should be the first order of business for the Lions, who need to build a more complete team.
“What you need in Detroit is depth, you need talent. The only way you’re going to get talent is by getting rid of your biggest chip, which is Matthew Stafford,” he said.
As it stands now, the Lions have seven draft picks with which to work with this season, including a pair in the fifth round. Adding to that would certainly help them build things up and improve the depth. They could also do this by not trading away Stafford and merely dealing down from their top pick.
Why Lions Could Take Tua Tagovailoa
Could the Lions take the plunge for the pick when all is said and done? According to one top NFL analyst, the answer is yes. According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, if everything checks out health wise with Tagovailoa, the Lions could decide to select the quarterback with their pick.
Naturally, this could be a smokescreen given draft season is typically lying season. Still, there is no discounting the teams potential need for a quarterback.
Detroit was forced to go with Jeff Driskel and later David Blough as quarterbacks after Matthew Stafford’s injury. Drafting a young quarterback could be considered an important step for the team, but the Lions could also sign a veteran backup instead of drafting a talent like Tagovailoa who could make a case to start faster.
Stafford is still entrenched, so it will be fascinating to see what path Detroit decides to take.