They say it’s always calmest before the storm, and with two weeks left before the NFL Draft, that has certainly been the case. Or it had been, until the Rams and Titans executed their blockbuster trade. Los Angeles sent the 15th, 43rd, 45th, and 76th overall selections in 2016, along with their 2017 first- and third-rounders, to Tennessee in exchange for the first overall pick, as well as the Titans’ fourth (no. 113) and sixth (no. 177). As a Lions fan in Nashville, this move has been the talk of the town. Titans fans are excited about this, and understandably so. They now hold six of the first 76 selections in the draft. For a team with a lot of holes, that’s huge. I don’t know how Rams fans feel, but I think their Hollywood honeymoon might have just been ruined. I have to say – it’s kind of funny to see them get a taste of their own medicine (see: RGIII trade.) But, I couldn’t care less about either of those teams. I’m more interested in the implications that this may have on the Lions in the draft. In this installment of Three and Out, I’ll be examining just that. Lets get to it.
The consensus is that the quarterback-needy Rams intend to make Wentz or Goff their selection. Whomever they don’t take will act as the consolation prize for the ever-unfortunate Browns. The bronze medalist of this QB class, Paxton Lynch, was mocked by a lot of analysts to the Rams at no. 15. The 49ers need a QB, but ESPN contributor John Clayton said it’s unlikely they reach for Lynch at seventh overall. This also makes it unlikely they deal Kaepernick to the Broncos, which is okay by John Elway because now Lynch might fall to him at no. 31. However, there are teams that could move back into the first (Cowboys, Chargers, 49ers) to take Lynch. The Bills could also very seriously consider Lynch at no. 19, which is a huge game-changer. This forces Denver to seriously consider being a trade player, lest they be stuck with Mark Sanchez at the helm. Furthermore, if Cleveland shocks the world and forgoes a quarterback with the second overall pick, they could supplant San Francisco among the aforementioned clubs who could move up to pick Lynch. With no obvious choice at no. 16, Detroit could be in a prime position to a strike a deal with one of these teams.
Ash Thompson, DLP contributor and Canadian national treasure, posited that this trade might affect us should the Titans decide to take Conklin, and I tend to agree. I foresee Jacksonville taking Tunsil to round out the top five, while Stanley falls to Chicago at no. 11, and Tennessee snipes Conklin one pick before us. (Alternatively, the Ravens could also follow the Jaguars by taking Stanley, leaving the Bears to draft Conklin.) The Titans now have a bevy of early second-rounders – three to be exact – which they could use to more than adequately address their other needs (cornerback, defensive end, safety). Plus, if he’s not gone by then, I’m just not sure who they’d want more than Conklin at no. 15. Shaq Lawson and Eli Apple could be there, but offensive tackle is still their biggest need. Sure, they could use one of their three second-rounders on one of the next tier of tackles (Spriggs, Clark, Ifedi, Coleman, Hawkins) but unless the Titans are absolutely in love with somebody, I think they take Conklin out from under us. If that’s the case, Bob Quinn could face a difficult decision in his draft debut.
A popular pick in many mock drafts had been Laquon Treadwell to the Rams. It’s quickly becoming apparent that all the wide receivers in this class should still be available by the time the Lions are on the clock. I don’t think Detroit is seriously considering a wideout, but there’s a slew of teams in the 20s that are serious candidates to take one. Washington (no. 21), Houston (no. 22), Minnesota (no. 23), and Cincinnati (no. 24) all have needs at the position, and at least two of them will spend their first on one. With no distinctive no. 1 receiver prospect – Treadwell’s stock has taken a bit of a dive – the latter three of these teams could trade up to leapfrog the others if they fear their preferred guy coming off the board. With the Falcons (no. 17) Bills (no. 19), and Jets (no. 20) all considering front seven defenders, particularly linebackers, you’d think they’d be averse to move back, lest their first choice get snatched up. That makes the Lions an ideal candidate to cut a deal with one of the receiver-needy teams in the twenties.
Last week, I reserved this space for a shamelessly plugging the site. Much to your chagrin, that will continue this week. While we’re on the topic of the draft, we have a lot of cool draft stuff coming up. Case and Chris will be doing a live draft show on April 28th, about which more information will soon be available. There are also preliminary talks among the staff about an exciting, new show format. We’re still ironing out the details on all of this stuff, but we’re very excited about the goings-on at the site. Lastly, thank you to all who have supported the site through our Patreon feature. Whether you can contribute $1.00 a month or $100 a month, you are greatly appreciated. Until next time, I’m out.