The Detroit Lions have a decision to make in the NFL Draft regarding the quarterback spot, and while it might not make sense for the team to trade Matthew Stafford, it might still make sense for them to take the best quarterback on the board.
According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, who spoke with Brad Galli of WXYZ, the team should take a gamble on Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback if he looks completely healthy, because he could have the highest ceiling of any player in the class and could be truly elite.
“I would take Tua but only if the medical came back that he was progressing and was really on track at least a year from now. Redshirt him for a year, but at least the second year he’d be ready to play,” he said. “If you were to give me a 10 year crystal ball and tell me both quarterbacks are going to be healthy, I’d take Tua over Joe Burrow and I love Joe Burrow.”
Even if that is the best plan, McShay thinks that it won’t happen in the end.
“My guess is, if it’s not trade out, it’s going to be Jeff Okudah, cornerback from Ohio State or Derrick Brown, defensive tackle from Auburn,” he said.
It could be a fair estimation, even if McShay admits he would take the gamble and select Tagovailoa.
Another ESPN Personality Wants Lions Selecting Tua Tagovailoa
Detroit must take Tua Tagovailoa according to ESPN’s Bart Scott 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 and figured to be, so it will be fascinating to see what path Detroit decides to take.