The Detroit Lions are sitting in an interesting spot in terms of the NFL Draft, given their pick is smack dab after an expected rush at quarterback and right around a spot
As a result, many folks are believing that the team could make a splashy move to aquire more picks for their rebuild. Not only do many think the Lions will trade down, but agree they should trade down in order to help facilitate this move.
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Recently, Pro Football Focus and writer Brad Spielberger took a look at projecting five trades they wanted to see teams make this draft season. Detroit took the top spot, and Spielberger projected a whopper of a move for the New England Patriots up to where the Lions pick to nab Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
“The Patriots loaded up on offense in free agency, spending $171 million in total guarantees (one of just two teams above $100 million in total guarantees), with big paydays for tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, wide receiver Nelson Agholor and many others. They have a vastly improved group of receivers and what should be one of the best offensive lines in the NFL in 2021, but a 32-year-old Cam Newton is not their long-term answer at quarterback even though he should have a much more productive season than in 2020.
The Bill Belichick-Nick Saban connection has been discussed ad nauseam, with New England selecting an Alabama player in the first three rounds in three out of the past five years, but the team’s mega spending spree makes more sense if it then looks to capitalize on a rookie-contract quarterback.
While the Patriots historically don’t love trading up, they moved up four times in 2020, further signaling their recent aggressiveness to get back to the mountaintop. In Mac Jones, they land an efficient pocket passer who takes care of the football but isn’t afraid to attack the deep and intermediate parts of the field. Jones ranked 15th in the country in percent of pressures he allowed to turn into sacks (12.3%; min. 150 dropbacks) and 17th in turnover-worthy play percentage (2.4% on 406 attempts).”
Within the trade, the Lions would pick up pick 15, 46, 139 and a second-round pick in 2022. Who do they get for their major trade back within Spielberger’s mock? None other than Alabama wideout Jaylen Waddle, a player who has been mocked to the Lions within the top 10 during the process.
Trading up for a quarterback would make sense for the Patriots, as they seemingly have a hole at the spot still. As a whole, this is a whopper of a move, but one that could bring happiness to both cities.
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Proposed Lions-Patriots Trade Makes Sense
So far in the process, the Lions have shown a willingness to be open to whatever should come. The team could stay put with pick seven and make a pick of a great player, or they could trade back for a major pick haul. In order to trade back, the Lions would have to get a haul such as this to help them both now and in the future. The Lions don’t have a ton of picks in 2021, with just six selections this coming season at this point. To this end, a trade to add a few more picks could make a ton of sense.
A move like the one proposed would be perfect for the Lions, and could help transform the team in the short-term and long-term.
Jaylen Waddle Highlights and Stats
Even though Waddle might not be on the forefront of everyone’s mind at this point given he missed much of the 2020 season with injury, there’s no question he is still a great player and capable of making a major difference on the field. With 1,965 yards to his credit and 17 touchdowns, Waddle has been one of the better wideouts to come through in the Alabama program lately. In 2020, he went down with an October ankle injury which cost him most of the season, but when the comeback happens, it could only prove that Waddle is one of the best young wideouts set to come out. Health will be a big determining factor on where Waddle ends up, but if he is healthy, a team like Detroit could quickly cash in as these highlights show.
There’s obviously no questioning the talent of Waddle when considering the whole picture, and assuming he’s healthy, he could join names like Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith as top wideouts for the impending NFL Draft. If the Lions could get him and pick up this many picks, it could be a big win for the team.