Detroit Lions: Friday’s blockbuster deal will play a role picking No. 7

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Usually, breaking news stories that come out on a Friday afternoon are stories teams and players hope eventually dissolve before the weekend expires.  But this past Friday, a couple of blockbuster trades sent a ripple throughout the NFL, and these deals will certainly play a role in who the Detroit Lions select with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft is still a month away, yet we’ve likely just seen the largest trade of the draft.  The Miami Dolphins swapped the third overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for the 12th choice plus two future first-round selections and a third-round pick.

It’s a deal that widely benefits the Miami Dolphins, understanding that the third overall pick is one they landed from the Houston Texans in the Laremy Tunsil.  When you look at it, the organization flipped Tunsil for four first-round picks and a third.  That is the way to rebuild a franchise if you were to ask me.

Minutes after making that blockbuster deal with the 49ers, the Dolphins traded back into the top six agreeing to move that 12th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles.  In addition to the 12th overall pick, the Dolphins sent a future first-round pick in 2022, plus the two swapped mid-round picks to the Eagles.

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What I get from this is Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is true to his word.  Rumors emerged, stating Lurie told his management team they are not to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and they’d turn the keys over to second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.  You can’t trust what an organization says this time of year, but this move makes it apparent that the Eagles are committed to rebuilding and building around their dual-threat quarterback.

How do these deals affect the Detroit Lions?

The 49ers moving all the way up to three is a significant climb.  49ers’ general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are quite aggressive. Although they quickly released a statement mentioning they are fully committed to Jimmy Garoppolo, and he’s their guy moving forward.  Trust that statement as much as you trust the person sitting next to you in a game of poker.

All that statement means is that Garoppolo is their guy until he’s not.

With the 49ers launching themselves into the top three, they are undoubtedly targeting a quarterback, which means there is a very good possibility the first three picks (maybe four) in the draft are QB’s.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars is essentially set in stone, leaving the New York Jets likely to choose Zach Wilson.  There is an outside chance the new regime in New York sees potential in Sam Darnold and takes the sensational left tackle Penei Sewell, but as I mentioned, it’s certainly just an outside chance.

That leaves the 49ers likely eyeing either Trey Lance or Mac Jones at three.  You may wonder why I left off Ohio State’s Justin Fields?  I find it telling that the 49ers made this deal after attending both Lance and Jones’ pro day, yet the Buckeye’s pro day is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30th.

This won’t entirely imply Fields is out of contention to be selected third but the 49ers, but the time of the suggests otherwise.

The Atlanta Falcons are on the clock fourth overall, and with the aging Matt Ryan at quarterback, they are expected to be in a position to draft a young quarterback even if he’s forced to sit for a season.  The Falcons may not find themselves in this position in the years to come, drafting this high with a Jones, Lance, or Fields ripe for the picking.

The Falcons can also leverage their draft position with quarterback-hungry teams such as the Denver Broncos, who pick ninth overall, or the Carolina Panthers slated to pick eighth.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these two teams come up and leapfrog the Detroit Lions in hopes of landing a young QB.

At this point, I don’t expect the Detroit Lions to select the fourth or fifth-best quarterback in the draft.  The Lions are sitting pretty at seven, although maximizing their return in a trade-back scenario has defiantly taken a hit.

Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes may still elect to trade out of No. 7, but using the selection on one of the top non-quarterback prospects isn’t the worst thing.

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The Detroit Lions will have an opportunity to select one of the top pass-catchers in the draft, including Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Kyle Pitts, or perhaps linebacker Micah Parsons or maybe even a franchise tackle in Penei Sewell if he falls through the cracks (unlikely).