The Detroit Lions will have to decide if they want to draft Tua Tagovailoa when all is said and done in April, and if their decision has to do with preference of the quarterback, there’s mixed reports on what could happen.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, an agent for Tagovailoa clarified the story that his client would not want to be drafted by the Lions. As he said, that’s far from the truth.
Here’s what Birkett wrote on the matter:
“If the Detroit Lions want Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 3 pick, the Alabama quarterback would embrace the opportunity to play for the team.
One of Tagovailoa‘a agents, Chris Cabott, told the Detroit Free Press that Tagovailoa, his family and representatives all agree that Detroit would be a welcome landing spot for a player once considered the No. 1 prospect in the draft.
“It would be an honor for Tua to play for the Detroit Lions if given the opportunity,” Cabott said. “And we as a family, along with the Tagovailoa family, feel united in that belief.”
That report differs greatly from the original which surfaced hours before during the end of last week which painted a very different picture of what Tagovailoa and his camp wanted in terms of the Lions.
Tua Tagovailoa’s Family on Lions Interest
Tagovailoa was initially revealed to not be that excited in the end should the Lions have interest. A post by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald details where Tagovailoa wants to play. As it says, the quarterback favors the Miami Dolphins and would prefer the team to deal up and take him, rather than risk him being selected by Detroit, which would force him to play for the Lions.
Here’s a look at the explanation of the quarterback’s thinking from the piece:
“Sources close to Tagovailoas say the Alabama quarterback would love for the Dolphins to trade up to No. 3 to select him. Those same sources say they don’t love the idea of Detroit actually picking Tua because of the arc of that team’s current coaching situation.
The Lions will be playing their third season under Matt Patricia in 2020. He has a 9-22-1 record his first two seasons and the Tagovailoas are concerned another poor season could force the Lions to fire Patricia — putting the quarterback in the uncertain 2021 situation of being a draft pick the new coach didn’t make.
And this: The Tagovailoas would love to come to the Dolphins.”
The Lions might not want to draft Tagovailoa when all is said and done, but having the thought that they could may be a valuable tool for trade maneuvering in the months leading up to the draft.
Apparently, though, it might not be the complete truth.
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.
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.
Regardless which way they go, the Lions will have to decide if Tagovailoa is all in or not.