While many draft-day scenarios are being floated around this time of year, let’s look at why the Detroit Lions drafting Tua Tagovailoa is a problem.
With the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions select … Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa? It’s a very real possibility, whether it seems to make sense for the organization or not. Here are two big reasons why this draft-day scenario is a big problem for the Motor City.
First, it makes zero sense for this front office. It’s been said multiple times that general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are expected to win now. Does that mean taking a quarterback recently recovered from injury to sit behind starter Matthew Stafford? I certainly hope not.
Quinn and Patricia will be on a very hot seat in December if the Lions aren’t playoff-bound. Essentially wasting the third overall draft pick on a player that won’t have an immediate impact simply doesn’t make any sense for the current situation in Detroit.
For reference, only 20 rookie quarterbacks had ever made the playoffs before 2019 with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson bumped that number up to 21. Only nine of those quarterbacks came away with playoff wins. That doesn’t sound promising for the Lions and Tua, if they draft him.
Second, by selecting anything other than one of the top defensive talents at number three, the Lions avoid filling a big need on their football team. They can make the team better today and for the future by selecting a blue-chip talent such as defensive end Chase Young or cornerback Jeffrey Okudah.
Currently, all signs point to one of them being available when the Lions are on the clock. In a trade down scenario to pick five or six, Detroit could still grab Okudah, versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons or defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Every position listed here could use an influx of talent.
Drafting Tua and avoiding a trade down costs the Lions additional draft capital to assist in building this team. The more draft picks and potential talent they can add to the roster, the better. It might sound obvious, but the team loses out on the potential of more talented players across the roster by settling for Tua – a quarterback that won’t be expected to play this year.
Now, this all changes should the Detroit Lions go against their word and trade Stafford prior to the NFL draft. Even that makes no sense as it would create a hole at the most important position in sports and signal to every other quarterback-needy team that they need to trade with the Washington Redskins at number two overall in order to get their guy.
Even worse, this scenario forces the Lions to trade up one spot to secure their quarterback and fill their huge need by getting rid of Stafford. Common sense to the average fan should tell you this won’t happen. But, we’re not in the room for those discussions.
Is it worth planning for the next general manager and coaching staff by selecting Tua? Is it worth missing on impactful, day-one defensive playmakers to draft Tua? Is it worth losing potential additional draft picks in a trade to stay put and draft a quarterback with an injury history? The answer is a resounding, “No.”