The Detroit Lions prove once again that the organization is fully committed to building around quarterback Matthew Stafford.
One of the biggest blunders in the 2020 Detroit Lions draft was failing to trade back in the first round, adding draft capital and still having the ability to come away with Jeff Okudah. Others will point to the fact Detroit passed on Tua Tagovailoa in favor of a corner.
Picking a cornerback with the third overall pick isn’t ideal. Okudah was the first corner selected that high in the draft since Ohio State’s Shawn Springs. The Seattle Seahawks had chosen Springs with the third pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.
Both corners selected third, both corners out of Ohio State. Springs was a good corner but was hampered by injuries. In his second professional season, Springs recorded seven interceptions and recorded five picks two other times in his career. Springs finished his career with 33 interceptions over his 13-year career.
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That being said, it doesn’t justify the fact that Detroit Lions General Manager (GM), Bob Quinn, failed to move back in the draft. Quinn states, ‘it takes two teams to make a trade.’ That’s correct, but GM’s should figure out a way to get a deal done. It’s like a poker player bluffing. It was apparent the Dolphins had their sights set on Tua, Quinn should have threatened to select the quarterback, force the hand of Miami. Before the pick became official, make the last phone call and say, listen, we’re taking Tua, and call their bluff.
The fact that Detroit decided to take a different route, selecting Okudah at three proves the organization will continue to back their franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
Stafford is a phenomenal talent, although, like a goaltender in this city, the quarterback will always face some sort of scrutiny from Detroit Lions fans. There are plenty of fans that had hoped the Lions drafted Stafford’s successor instead of a corner. Sitting a player like Tagovailoa behind Stafford for two years would have been very beneficial, but it’s been an organization that tip-toes around the feelings of their quarterback.
I understand the thought process, and I agree with it to an extent, but at some point, an organization needs to prepare for the future beyond the next two or three years. I am a Stafford fan; I think with Darrell Bevell calling the offense, Stafford has the potential to be at his best. Like we’ve mentioned in the past, not 5,000 passing yards or 50 touchdowns but by far the most efficient he’s ever been operating in this balanced offense.
When Matt Patricia was hired by his old friend and colleague Bob Quinn, the pair mentioned the organization was firmly behind Stafford. Stafford, at just 30-years old, made the Detroit gig one of the more desirable jobs when Patricia accepted the coaching position. At just 32-years old, the Lions have finally surrounded the eleven-year veteran with a plethora of weapons at his disposal.
Quinn drafted a top tight end last season, and a franchise-type running back in 2020. The Lions have three tremendous pass-catchers at receiver, and it’s been an offseason spent re-tooling the offensive line adding Halapoulivaati Vaitai in free agency and both Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg via the draft.
The Green Bay Packers who desperately need playmakers on offense to pair with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. An odd choice when you consider how ‘receiver rich’ the draft was. Yet, the Lions couldn’t pull the trigger on Tua. I do believe Okudah is a tremendous talent, but at three? It’s something to re-evaluate in five years from now.
With Aaron Rodgers 36-years old, the Lions will have an opportunity to take over the NFC North in a couple of seasons while the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings each search for a franchise quarterback. Perhaps that’s the mindset of Quinn. Maybe he understands Stafford is the clear second-best quarterback in the division and will be the best soon, so rather than spending draft capital on his replacement, let’s go all-in and field the best possible team we can now.
It probably won’t be in 2020 where we see the Detroit Lions excel, the Detroit defense doesn’t seem to be as advanced as the offense and a schedule that’s considered as the leagues fifth most difficult doesn’t favor Detroit. But perhaps we see this organization take a gigantic step forward in 2021 after another offseason spent focusing on the defense.