If Bengals balk on Burrow, the Detroit Lions should benefit

The Detroit Lions should be in prime trade down territory if the Cincinnati Bengals opted not to draft LSU quarterback Joe Burrow number one.

Owning the number three overall selection in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are already in prime position to trade down. But a decision by the Cincinnati Bengals could increase those odds of a draft-day trade … and potentially increase the asking price.

Coming off a national championship win and being named the Heisman winner, not many prospects have entered an NFL draft hotter than LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. Having played high school football in Ohio, and with the Cleveland Browns possessing the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft, most see it as a match made in football Heaven.

But recent rumors have started to circulate that Burrow may not want to play for Cincinnati. Much of that speculation seems to be stemming from comments made by his family and former Bengals like quarterback Carson Palmer and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Regardless of the reasons, if the Bengals opt to look elsewhere when their number is called during the first round of the NFL draft in April, the Lions could be the biggest beneficiary. Although Cincinnati could easily call an audible and draft Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young with their top pick, the position of quarterback is so important they’d most likely still look to draft a franchise passer.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa would be the presumed choice if his medicals check out. Tagovailoa suffered a hip injury back in mid-November. He’ll go through an extensive medical check during the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine at the end of this month. Oregon’s Justin Herbert should also be in the running.

The point here is if Burrow falls to No. 2, a pick owned by the Washington Redskins, they will likely be inundated with a slew of trade offers from quarterback-needy teams. And despite selecting quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round in 2019, the Redskins could also opt to draft Burrow as they have a new head coach in Ron Rivera. And if quarterbacks go with the first two picks, that means Young is still available.

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The best case scenario for the Detroit Lions would be that Chase Young falls to them third overall. Barring that miracle, having Joe Burrow drop to them might be a close second. Teams will likely be climbing over each other to talk to Lions general manager Bob Quinn trying to cut a draft day deal. If so, Quinn and company may be able to name their price and land a historic draft haul for the highly-coveted passer.

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