Draftmas Day Three: Why The Detroit Lions Are Picking At 3

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Every mock draft has the Lions trading back. That is how you know it is never going to happen.

Not who (Jeff Okudah) but why. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s almost certain that the Detroit Lions will not receive a windfall of picks to move back very slightly to take the player that they wanted anyway. That’s just not the most likely outcome. There are many reasons.

Trading back is not as easy as it seems. Plenty of teams want to do it, but fewer teams want to move up. Then there is the issue of compensation. The value of each pick is listed in the trade value chart, but not every team holds to that value. NFL GMs are competitive. Each of them wants to come out the winner when the draft is over. Finding partners could be difficult this season.

The Miami Dolphins

The first reason is that the Miami Dolphins worked really hard to accumulate this massive storehouse of draft picks so that they could rebuild their team rapidly under the new regime. They made the decision to prioritize personality type and scheme fit rather than raw talent. They knew that their roster wasn’t going to mesh with the coaching staff they assembled and had a fire sale. They got ripped in the media, ripped by the fans, and ripped by the players they got rid of. They’ve done the same thing Bob Quinn did, but they did it in one year rather than three. They’ve got the opportunity to infuse their roster with a simultaneous talent and scheme fit upgrade fast enough to have everyone keep their jobs. With that many rookies playing they’re not likely to win a ton of games. They’re going to have a high pick next year too. A few of the other reasons I’ll go over below play into this. I do not believe the Lions are getting anything from Miami.

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The Quarterbacks Available

Tua Tagovailoa is made of porcelain. He has all the talent in the world, but even if his hip has healed it is not his only injury. Tua has sustained two ankle injuries and a broken hip in three seasons of college football. He does not appear to be destined to have a long career in football. He is not a big guy at 6′ 217. It is big enough if he’s not getting shelled, but he’s probably going to a team without a great line unless he falls much farther than we think. Guys who get hurt in college, tend to get hurt in the NFL, the workload on the body does not decrease. A slightly mobile QB with talent but an injury history just doesn’t seem like a bet that an NFL team makes at the cost of moving to pick three.

Justin Herbert has had the reputation of not being the alpha in the dressing room for his entire college career. Suddenly it’s his draft process and everyone believes he’s been that guy? We’ve seen this before, and it was fairly recent. Josh Rosen has all the talent in the world and couldn’t lead a raindrop to the ground. QB wins are not a stat, but it is the position that the entire team feeds off of. This is the position that has to tell the diva wide receiver to shut up and do his job when he cries about not getting the ball. There is no indication that Justin Herbert is the guy to do that.

Jordan Love is the last quarterback that a team could potentially fall in love with in the top ten. His draft year was a massive drop-off from his 2018 performance. The only reason he is in this conversation at all is Tua’s injuries and Herbert’s lack of a commanding presence. Love has all of the tools that you could ever want a quarterback to have, but you have to convince yourself that he is not responsible for his own level of play to even consider a pick in the top ten, let alone top three.

Oh, there are also two reasonable options left in free agency. Jameis Winston threw a lot of picks last year, and he’s waiting until after the draft to see who doesn’t get their guy. Cam Newton is doing the same thing. Cam is not too far off an MVP performance, though his injuries have made a return to that play level unlikely.

The Quarterbacks on Other Teams

Carolina seemed like a good bet to trade up, right until they signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal. I would be shocked if they didn’t draft an offensive tackle. They’ve set up a track team at the wide receiver position, signed a quarterback who can distribute the ball underneath with accuracy and timing, and brought in a cutting edge offensive coach. They also signed Christian McCaffery to a huge deal. They need to fix the offensive line, and quick, because they’ve tied their window to a premier running back. He has been the engine of their offense, but it has been a terrible offense. Basically, they’re wasting an opportunity to win games right now in a division without a lot of momentum outside New Orleans.

Jacksonville got their guy in the 2018 draft by all accounts. I don’t think Gardner Minshew is a franchise QB, but all accounts say that the Jags do. That’s another of the teams with the ammo to move up, but not the motivation.

The Lack of Ammunition

The Raiders have been rumored to be interested, but Bob Quinn doesn’t seem likely to drop out of the top ten. The Patriots have been rumored to be interested but Bob Quinn doesn’t seem likely to drop out of the top twenty. The Colts have been rumored to be interested, by Bob Quinn doesn’t seem likely to drop out of the first round completely… you get the idea.

Many of the teams that would like to move up just don’t have the juice.

Tomorrow, I’ll be giving you the other side of the story. You’ll find out why there is no way that the Lions are picking at number three.

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Draft Snacks (The Food, Not The Man)

This is a simple recipe for my Favorite thing to dip my sourdough bread into. There are only four ingredients and you don’t have to cook anything. Simply combine the first three ingredients in a bowl, stir it up with a fork, let it sit until the oil separates from the vinegar, sprinkle the salt across the top, and dip away.

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3 Cloves of Garlic pressed or diced super fine

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Ash Thompson writes to make the voices in his head go away, not so you’ll follow him on social media. You can chat with him in the Detroit Lions Podcast Patreon Supporter Slack Chat though. Some guys named Chris, Case, and Jeff also show up there. It’s most definitely worth supporting your favorite podcast for as little as $1 per month to join the conversation. 

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About the Author

Ash Thompson
Ash Thompson is a fanatical football fan, and less fanatical hockey fan despite his Canadian heritage. He is sorry aboot that. His spirit animal is a beaver with a shark's head. He enjoys maple syrup and tacos, but never at the same time.