Analyst Explains Lions Draft Interest in Quarterbacks

Tua Tagovailoa

Getty Tua Tagovailoa during the Super Bowl media days.

For a few months, rumors have swirled around the Detroit Lions as a team that could potentially select a quarterback high in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Many have wondered if it was actually the case, or if it was a simple bit of conjecture leading into the draft in order to drive interest in the No. 3 pick. There’s been little said on whether or not that was the case until now. Finally, there is a bit of clarity that has emerged.

According to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com, the Lions and Washington Redskins actually don’t have much interest in selecting a quarterback high whatsoever, but are merely putting on a show in order to perhaps drive the interest of their picks to teams that do want and need a signal caller.

Here’s a look at what Pauline wrote in a recent piece about what he’s heard:

“But, through our conversations with sources, we are led to believe that as of now, teams such as the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions are playing the leverage game. On February 28, Allbright reported as such.

“While there is plenty of talk about Redskins and Lions possibly selecting a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, both teams see this as an opportunity to potentially trade down with a QB-needy team (such as the Dolphins or Chargers), multiply their picks, and still get top talent. Neither are interested in drafting a quarterback but are leaking this information to try to generate interest.”

The Lions sound as committed to Matthew Stafford as he is to them, so these tidbits with over a month to go before the draft seem to make plenty of sense as it relates to what the team might do.

As enticing as it might seem to many to suggest the team chase a big name quarterback prospect, the team’s bigger needs likely lie on defense, which means that they are more likely to look closely at selecting that position when all is said and done.

Improve a leaky defense and the Lions might make strides in 2020. The team could always draft a quarterback, but do so outside of the first round.


ESPN’s Todd McShay: Lions Must Draft Tua Tagovaiola

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.


Why Lions Could Take Tua Tagovailoa

Despite what is being reported, 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. Most experts don’t exactly expect the team to seriously consider selecting a quarterback when all is said and done.

READ NEXT: Matthew Stafford’s Feelings About Trade Rumors Revealed

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