In a season when many heard another NFL team down south was tanking for Tua, this Detroit Lions team was not employing that draft strategy.
The Detroit Lions had a heartbreaking 2019 season. And while the saying “tank for Tua” was heard throughout the year, it wasn’t in association with the team from the Motor City. Actually, it was in association with the Miami Dolphins, a team that clearly wasn’t expecting to have a home game for the Super Bowl.
While the Dolphins were considered to be the team trying hard to lose, they managed to notch two more victories than the Lions this year, costing them draft position as they fell to fifth overall. And with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s declaration for the NFL, it put the Lions in position to draft him.
That wasn’t the plan coming into the 2019 season, but Peter King said in Football Morning In America this week that it would be intriguing for the Lions to select Tua and cut current quarterback Matthew Stafford loose after the 2020 season.
"“Stafford’s been the quarterback there for 11 seasons. He’s never won a playoff game, and the Lions are 13 under .500 in games that he starts, and he’s entering his age-32 season. Sometimes, even when something’s not your fault, it might be time to wipe the slate clean.”"
King goes on to mention that they need to do their due diligence in researching Tua’s injury history before they make this decision, but it intrigues him. But, look at what happened this season, even with Stafford’s injury. The team was leading in the fourth quarter of six games that they lost. They were on the verge of a nine-win season.
So, Lions fans are supposed to think Tua is the future? That there aren’t other positions on the current roster that could use more attention to turn those six losses into wins? Stafford may not be perfect, but he’s certainly in the top half of this league for quarterbacks. Starting over with a rookie with this roster isn’t going to lead to the playoffs in 2020 – which this team is arguably capable of.
Case in point: two last-second losses to the NFC Championship runner-ups, the Green Bay Packers. While the Packers looked like they didn’t belong on the same field as the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, they were still only one game away from the Super Bowl and the Lions were extremely close to beating them … twice.
If you think this Detroit Lions team is a long way away from a playoff victory, you are mistaken. They’re much closer than you think. Grabbing an impact defensive playmaker at third overall in the draft would make much more sense than a backup quarterback with an injury history.