The Detroit Lions have some big decisions to sort out the next few months during the lead into the NFL Draft, and they might be in the most interesting spot of all with pick No. 3.
Theoretically, anything could be on the table for the Lions, who could go with defense in the form of a lineman or a cornerback. They could also take a chance on a wide receiver, or could even pick up a quarterback such as Tua Tagovailoa.
That makes the Lions perhaps the most interesting team in the draft, but it also makes their decision particularly difficult. What should they do, and what will they do? Lots of folks are taking a stab at explaining what will happen and play out, and the latest was Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report.
Moton explained some of the hardest choices of the draft in a piece, and he had the Lions right up there in terms of difficult situations to monitor. As Moton said, he doesn’t believe the Lions will make a bold choice like quarterback. Here’s part of his answer on that:
“Don’t expect the Lions to select a quarterback with time ticking on the current regime. Patricia and Quinn may not make it through the 2020 season—let alone see a young signal-caller blossom over the next few years. Detroit needs an immediate impact from its incoming draft class.
At No. 3 overall, the Lions will likely choose a top-tier non-quarterback prospect or trade back to fill more roster holes going into a critical season.
If Quinn doesn’t trade down to acquire additional picks from a quarterback-needy squad, defensive tackle Derrick Brown and cornerback Jeff Okudah stand out as likely choices.”
Overall, this is a fair take from Moton. It seems more likely the Lions will either draft defense or trade out of the pick in order to try and accumulate assets for the future.
We’ll simply have to wait and see what happens come April.
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 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. As Moton explains, he doesn’t seem to think it will be to take Tagovailoa when all is said and done.
Lions Biggest 2020 NFL Draft Need is Defensive End
The Lions struggled pressuring the pocket on defense meaningfully in 2019, something that was painfully obvious all season. That is a glaring problem. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
If the draft were held today, the Lions would have to target some type of defensive end or pass rush specialist highly, and Chase Young would be the top option if he were there. Without a few impact players here in 2020, it’s tough to imagine the Lions turning their defensive fortunes around.
In the event Young wasn’t on the board, the Lions would likely be content to grab Jeffrey Okudah, his teammate. While defensive end is the biggest need on the team, cornerback isn’t far behind. Detroit’s backfield has been searching in vain for another top flight cornerback for some time, and Okudah could give them just the right mix at the spot.
Whether Okudah or Young or even someone like Derrick Brown from Auburn, the Lions could score with defense most in 2020. It seems more likely that the team would draft them rather than Tagovailoa.
That’s something plenty of analysts see as the case when all is said and done, no matter how hard the choice might be for the team in the end.