Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa declaring for the NFL draft puts the Detroit Lions into the best possible situation a franchise could ask for.
The sure-fire franchise quarterback, deemed by many as a ‘generational talent’ Tua Tagovailoa, will enter the NFL draft. With the Detroit Lions currently sitting with the third overall pick, it’s created the perfect storm for general manager Bob Quinn.
The Lions will have plenty of options as the draft approaches. Owner Martha Firestone Ford recently applied the pressure to the current regime; it’s a win-now mentality. Part of which I believe is to calm the fanbase who appears to be split on this coaching staff. Don’t forget Martha was a big fan of coach Jim Caldwell.
So, having this staff struggle throughout their first two years could be gnawing on her nerves, the same way it’s bothered many fans. Don’t be fooled; she was convinced by team president Rod Wood and GM Bob Quinn to part ways with Jim Caldwell after back-to-back 9-7 seasons only to see the franchise win nine games over the next two seasons.
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I don’t for a second feel that Martha’s statement at the end of Detroit’s season about competing for a playoff spot, playing meaningful games in December, was a ploy. I expect her to follow through with her promise if the Lions were to win say, five games next season.
The grey area comes when Detroit’s high watermark becomes seven wins. Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia will march into Martha’s office and describe how seven wins are significant progress from the previous two seasons. It’s something Martha is sure to soak up, yet the same spiel wouldn’t fool Detroit fans.
That being said, Tua’s decision to enter the draft becomes significant to the Detroit Lions. With Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn forced to impress Martha, Detroit is in position to really shovel coal into the Tua hype train. The Lions should invite Tua in for a workout, express publicly how they hope to have an opportunity to draft him.
Keep in mind, a conversation with Matthew Stafford should take place, be sure to mention this is a ploy to force a team to either trade up with Washington for the second overall pick to take Tua leaving Chase Young available at three. Or, force teams like Miami or the Chargers to overpay Detroit for the third overall pick.
When you look at some of the previous drafts, Detroit has a realistic chance of trading back to five or six, along with adding a future first, and current second and third-round picks. That’s just what the doctor ordered for Detroit, who has so many needs throughout their roster. Adding draft capital is critical for a rebuilding team. Plus, don’t forget, there are plenty of great options that will be available for the Lions to pick anywhere between five and seventh overall.
The final option and this won’t go over well with many fans, but Detroit can always draft Tua at three and sit him for a year behind Matthew Stafford for a year or two. If Tua is this ‘generational talent,’ why not have him be the franchise quarterback in waiting?
I don’t want to hear his health is in question. If his health were a question-mark, he’d be returning to Alabama. You (most likely) nor I, am a doctor; leave it to the professionals to decide if he will be healthy and if he can return to the same form before the injury. And should his health really be a concern since Stafford himself has had broken bones in his back for the last two years?
Detroit is in a tremendous spot. They are guaranteed one of either Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Chase Young OR a whole bunch of draft capital and the opportunity to still select either Derrick Brown, Andrew Thomas, Jerry Jeudy, or maybe even Jeff Okudah to go along with that draft capital. It’s in Bob Quinn’s hands, are you confident he will better this team? Only time will tell.