Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons speaks to the media at the NFL Combine on Thursday, February 27, 2020 in Indianapolis.
Detroit Free Press
If she Detroit Lions choose third, fifth, or sixth place – or maybe even another in the top 10 – and should be able to land one of the draft’s second blue chip defensive players: Jeff Okudah, Isaiah Simmons or Derrick Brown.
The Lions need help at all three levels of their defense, and Okudah, Simmons, and Brown are potential differentiators. Okudah is a day 1 starter at Cornerback, a player who has the length, skills, and makeup to match Defense Coach Matt Patricia’s defense. Simmons is the kind of all-round defender the Lions yearn for, a unicorn that storms passers-by just as skillfully as it covers tight ends 20 meters below the field.
And Brown is a better interior pass rusher than anyone else the Lions currently have, another instant starter in a position of need.
Trading down works, of course, only if you have a partner who wants to upgrade, and the Lions will be looking for it for the next 10 days.
Will a team trade for Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa given their risk of injury? (Photo: Kent Gidley, Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics)
Since Joe Burrow and Chase Young are expected to occupy first and second places at the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington respectively, the Lions are just outside the prime real estate position in terms of design.
Your choice should be of interest to teams in need of quarterbacks who want Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, but the market for both players is limited. Tagovailoa has known injury concerns, Herbert ended the season as # 4 quarterback on some draft boards (behind Burrow, Tagovailoa, and Jordan Love, Utah), and the Lions don’t risk falling too far in the draft and closing him down miss one of this year’s elite perspectives.
For this reason, rumors of a 23rd place trade in New England Patriots make no sense. The Patriots have only one of the design’s first 86 picks, and even if they included a veteran like security guard Joe Thuney or recipient Julian Edelman in a package, the Lions would need far more design capital to give up a cost-controlled potential star.
[ Hey, Lions: This hometown defensive back has success written all over him ]
Some teams are also preparing for rookie quarterbacks – and rookies in general – to have less impact this year due to the corona virus shutdown, and there is no guarantee that Lions will be able to choose.
In fact, their trading market currently seems to be limited to a handful of teams at best, even considering the tiny chance that a team could be considered a player other than a quarterback. (If Young happens to fall, the Lions make their choice on the virtual podium.)
Here are three possible trading scenarios that the Lions might consider on April 23:
Scenario 1: Miami’s muscle
Get lions: Dolphins choose No. 5 and No. 26 in the first round and vote in the fifth round (No. 154).
Get dolphins: Lions selection for the first round (# 3) and selection for the fourth round (# 109).
Justin Herbert threw a pass for Oregon last season. (Photo: Getty Images)
Why does it make sense: The dolphins pay far too much, According to Rich Hill’s trade value chart, that means they give up the first, third and fifth round selections and get a quarter-finalist back in the deal. But Miami is in a must-have situation for a quarterback and the possibility remains that both the Dolphins and the Chargers want the same player.
In this case, Miami has the design capital to ensure that it gets the player it wants. The Dolphins have five of the design’s first 56 picks this year, including three top picks. It is conceivable to pay a premium for a quarterback, mainly because the Dolphins keep their second choice in the first round. And getting an early quarter-finals back helps a Miami team make rounds 71 through 71 pick picks in rounds 3-4.
Why not: We’ll see how well Quinn has a poker face – or how much Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants a quarterback – because there may be no bidding war going on. With multiple picks for the first and second rounds in 2021, the Dolphins can afford to be selective.
They may want to stick to this late first-round player, hoping to swap him for another round one choice next year and run at Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Or maybe the teams could find common ground if the Dolphins Pick gave up # 39 in the second round instead of # 26 or if they made a swap in the third / fourth round instead of a fourth / fifth round.
Scenario 2: Tua to Tinseltown?
Get lions: Selection of the first round of chargers (No. 6), selection of the second round (No. 37) and selection of the first round of chargers in 2021.
Get chargers: Lions selection in the first round (# 3).
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws a touchdown against Southern Mississippi, September 21, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Photo: Butch Dill, USA TODAY Sport)
Why it works: Again, this is a significant overpayment, according to the updated draft of the table of values, but you don’t have to go far back to find a framework for the business. In 2018, the New York Jets swapped their first round plus three seconds, including one in the 2019 draft, for the Indianapolis Colts to get three spots for a quarterback.
This is a slightly different scenario. The Jets traded before the design and knew they would feel good if they took one out of three while the chargers had a particular quarterback in mind (Tagovailoa or Herbert) and might feel the need to win a bidding war.
Nobody likes to part with future round one picks, but chargers have only one choice every round this year, and teams usually pay a premium for their trading partners waiting a year for a draft pick. If you are desperately looking for a quarterback and someone to be the face of your franchise when you move to a new stadium, this deal would work.
Why not: Maybe the chargers with Tagovailoa or Herbert feel comfortable as the quarterback of the future, or maybe they are not so in love. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are free agents, so they don’t lack options when passing a QB on in the draft.
Like the Lions, the chargers are closer to the competition than the 2019 record and would benefit from adding a top offensive lineman or a defensive standout in the first round.
GM Tom Telesco was conservative on the design days and has made a trade in the last three designs. He exchanged two places for Melvin Gordon in 2016, but giving up a future one seems atypical. The chargers don’t have a ton of ammunition, so they may not be willing to give up a jet-like transport to make a deal.
Scenario 3: The sleeper
Get lions: Jaguar’s first choice No. 9 and No. 20.
Get Jaguars: Lions selection in the first round (# 3).
Why it works: The Jaguars won’t really roll with Gardner Minshew as a quarterback, will they? Jacksonville has a need just as great as any team in the position and has to skip the dolphins and chargers to get one.
This puts the Lions in third place and the Giants in fourth place as potential trading partners. The jaguars had not been associated with either Tagovailoa or Herbert, but no one thought that GM Dave Caldwell would take Blake Bortles with number 3 of the 2014 draft. He could be lurking in the wings, and with his job on the line he could be willing to bet on the farm to get the quarterback he wanted.
Why not: Maybe Jacksonville is ready to go with Minshew for now. After all, next year there is a bigger price waiting in Lawrence, and the Jaguars have additional picks in stock in the first and fourth round in 2021. They have a lot of holes to fill outside of the quarterback, and trading in 9th place is a risk for the Lions. One of Okudah, Simmons, or Brown might be there, but it’s possible that all three are gone.
We don’t know when the Detroit Lions will play in 2020, but we do know who they will compete against and where. Here’s a look at the schedule for this season.