The Detroit Lions are analyzing their options for the NFL Draft, and many have speculated that they could be eyeballing a trade down in order to acquire more assets.
Interestingly, there hasn’t been much said as it relates to trade projections in mock drafts until now. Sports Illustrated published a new mock and had the Lions striking a trade with the Miami Dolphins. Involved in that deal were plenty of picks, and the Dolphins come up for Tua Tagovailoa.
Detroit acquires the 5th, 39th and 70th picks in exchange for No. 3 in Kevin Hanson’s new mock. The Dolphins get their hands on Tagovailoa. Here’s what Hanson says about that:
“As long as Miami’s doctors feel comfortable about the progress of Tagovailoa’s hip injury, the Dolphins may feel inclined to move up to secure their future franchise quarterback. Although owner Stephen Ross has expressed some concerns about Tua’s health, several teams in the top half of the draft—Chargers at 6, Panthers at 7, Colts at 13 and Bucs at 14—will contemplate using their first-rounder on a quarterback. When healthy, Tua has elite anticipation, accuracy and touch to all levels of the field; he’s expected to throw for teams prior to the draft.”
As for the Lions pick at No. 5 with the Miami selection, it’s a familiar one in terms of name. Hanson has the Lions drafting Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah. Here’s his explanation why:
“This would be a no-brainer trade-back scenario for Detroit as they get the prospect I slotted to them in my previous mock and add two Day 2 picks. Not only were the Lions tied for a league-low seven interceptions in 2019, but Darius Slay is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season. Leading the Buckeyes with three interceptions in 2019, Okudah is a complete corner with an ideal blend of size (6’ 1”, 200 pounds), athleticism and fluidity to develop into a shutdown corner at the next level.”
This kind of trade could help jump start a rebuild for the Lions. The team would get their hands on lots of selections early in the draft and could re-shape their roster quickly with lots of selections.
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, and that could be why Miami looks to move up. 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.
Bob Quinn Speaks on Matthew Stafford’s Status
Stafford’s future has been open to interpretation with rumors swirling that the team could draft someone else or move on entirely. Bob Quinn, however, joined SiriusXM NFL Radio and explained why none of that could be the case at all.
“I’m totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford’s our quarterback. He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course. He’s pretty much at full health right now. Talked to him about 10 days ago,” Quinn said in the interview. “He was in the office so he’s feeling great. He’s in a good mindset, he’s excited. Obviously he’s a competitor so to miss half the season was hard on him. But he did a great job with our backup quarterbacks.”
Specifically, Quinn admitted he liked watching Stafford work with the backups and prepare them. That let him know the team is in good hands moving forward.
“Just behind the scenes, seeing him in a different light,” he said. “Since I’ve been there he’s been at every practice and every game. To see him in coach mode was pretty cool to see. He really cares about not only our team and his teammates and his leadership, really helping those other quarterbacks learn our system on the fly when he went down.”
That leads Quinn to feel positively about Stafford moving forward and the impact he might have on the team.
“I feel great about Matthew. He’s going to come back strong and we’re ready to go for next year,” he said.
These quotes would seem to throw cold water on the notion that the Lions would draft a quarterback early or decide to deal Stafford this offseason.
Still, the Lions could use the illusion in order to make a potentially sweet deal like this one that’s presented.