The Detroit Lions could be playing mind games at the Senior Bowl in an attempt to entice quarterback-needy teams to trade above them in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Most analysts and draftniks agree that the Detroit Lions just missed out on the Chase Young sweepstakes. Despite ending their season losing nine-straight games, the Lions weren’t able to climb into the top two of the upcoming NFL draft, where the Ohio State pass rusher is expected to be chosen.
Instead, the Lions possess the third overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. With the quarterback-needy Cincinnati Bengals expected to have LSU passer and Heisman winner Joe Burrow squarely in their sights, Young presumably falls to the Washington Redskins at No. 2.
The Redskins drafted Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. And despite an underwhelming rookie season where Haskins completed just 58.6 percent of his passes, Washington isn’t expected to draft another quarterback with their top pick this year.
But the Lions could be making an effort to acquire Young in a different way. At the Senior Bowl this week, where Detroit’s staff was selected to coach the North squad, rumors are reportedly circulating that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could be on the move this offseason. That according to Omar Kelly, NFL beat writer and columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
It’s clear how this rumor might benefit Detroit. If a quarterback-needy team truly believes the Lions will draft a passer with the third overall pick, say Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, then they may be motivated to trade with Washington in order to get in front of Detroit. And if quarterbacks go off the board with the top two selections, Young falls to the Motor City.
Helping to support the idea that these rumors about Stafford could be a strategic smoke screen are the previous actions of Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford. Following a disappointing 3-12-1 season, Ford greenlit the return of both general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia for another year with the caveat that she expects Detroit to be a playoff contender in 2020.
Breaking in a rookie quarterback to replace Matthew Stafford is the exact opposite of what Quinn and Patricia need to do in order to take the Detroit Lions on a San Francisco 49ers-type worst-to-first resurgence this upcoming season. The Lions have plenty of other needs to fill on their talent-depleted roster. And having a proven quarterback under center, even one coming off an injury-plagued season is a luxury they can’t afford to be without.