Detroit Lions NFL Draft: Impact of a Deshaun Watson trade

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Detroit Lions, Deshaun Watson
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When the Detroit Lions and former quarterback Matthew Stafford decided to part ways last month, it was not a huge surprise to many, even if it did hurt. The Lions are headed into a full-blown rebuild and have many holes to fill all over the roster.

What we didn’t expect was for Stafford to be traded to the Los Angles Rams and for their former starting signal-caller, Jared Goff, to be coming to the Motor City. This is because of the ridiculous contract that the Rams gave Goff on his most recent contract extension.

Before the start of the 2019 NFL season, Los Angles gave their former first-round pick a four-year extension worth $134 million. They have now unloaded that on Detroit and even had to include extra compensation in the Stafford/Goff trade to have both sides agree to make the move.

Now the Lions have Goff’s contract to deal with and also have to absorb the dead money hit from Stafford’s deal.

Long story short, the Lions don’t have much (if any cap space available) for 2021. Obviously, this will change some via cuts, and hopefully, a restructure of Goff’s mega-contract. Either way, there won’t be a lot of money to spend in free agency to address the glaring holes throughout the roster.

The 2021 NFL Draft will be very important for the Detroit Lions.

Following the Rams/Lions trade, I believed Detroit needed to go after one of the top four guys in the 2021 NFL Draft class. Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson is almost a guarantee to go No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, leaving Zach Wilson of BYU, Justin Fields of OSU, and Trey Lance of NDSU as the only three real options.

In the latest mocks I have been seeing, it’s likely that only two or maybe even one make it to the Lions at No. 7 overall.

With the possibility of Lance being the only one of the likely day-one quarterbacks remaining, do the Lions pull the trigger?

It would be ideal for the youngster. Lance is a great, athletic-looking kid, but he is raw no matter how you look at it.

He shouldn’t be expected to come to any team at the NFL level and “save the franchise.” He would be best off spending a year on the sideline, learning from whichever team’s starter and offensive coordinator.

In Detroit, this would be an ideal fit.

With people like Dan Campbell as the Lions, new head coach, Anthony Lynn as the new offensive coordinator, Mark Brunell as the new quarterbacks’ coach, and also Goff as the QB1 — Lance could take his time learning the game at the highest level. Lynn took last year’s rookie of the year, Justin Herbert, to levels no one expected in 2020 and has shown he can develop and help provide a smooth transition from college to the pros.

Earlier this offseason, I spent a considerable amount of time watching tape on three of the four draft prospects that I mentioned, and I really enjoyed what I saw from Lance.