With the NFL Draft 2020 just two days away the Detroit Lions have an opportunity to be kingmakers. With everyone expecting the Giants to be the team to trade out of their pick the Lions are brilliantly positioned to control the shape of this year’s first round.
So will they make the pick or trade back?
Detroit Lions pick at number 3
If the Detroit Lions stay in their current position, nearly every single mock draft out there has them selecting cornerback Jeff Okudah from Ohio State. Easily the best corner in the draft, it is a major need for the Lions who ranked dead last in pass yards allowed per game.
Allowing north of 115 yards per game more than league leaders San Francisco, and taking just seven interceptions to rank joint-last. The Lions also got the second-fewest sacks in the league with 28 and allowed a joint league-worst 72 players over 20 yards.
The Lions were basically horrendous on pass defence all season. Clearly, if they pick at three they need to address that, so the obvious positions in play would be corner and edge.
With 28 sacks, edge would be a major possibility if something strange happens with the number two pick. If the Redskins pull a rabbit out of the hat and trade out, or take Tua, or Herbert, I could see the Lions taking Chase Young.
However, I don’t see that happening despite the Redskins history of strange draft decisions, and new coach ‘Riverboat’ Ron at the helm. If Tua were 100% healthy it would make sense, but both Tua and Herbert, have major question marks hanging over them.
If Young were there, however, he would be a great pick. If he’s gone, as expected, AJ Epenesa is probably the second-best edge defender, and I don’t see any way the Lions reach for him at number three. Leaving Okudah as the obvious pick in this spot.
The most likely source of a trade for the Lions is the Chargers if they are totally sold on either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. If they are, they may want to jump ahead of the Dolphins at five in order to guarantee their preference.
So what could the Lions get for the third pick? In the 2018 draft, the Colts made exactly the same trade the Detroit Lions face in this situation when they traded back with the NY Jets so they could select Sam Darnold.
In that situation, the Colts extracted the number six pick, two second-rounders in 2018, and a second-rounder in 2019. It’s a steep price to be sure, but one a team desperate for a franchise quarterback has to pay. There’s a premium there of about 900 points on nominal value based on the draft trade chart values.
Do the Chargers have that kind of value to give up? Not in this year’s draft they don’t, which could prove tricky, and would likely drive up the points disparity as they are probably looking to have to give up a first-rounder in 2021 to sweeten the pot.
With the Lions almost certainly not drafting a QB, their position is slightly weakened in this scenario with the fact that the Giants are also potential trade partners for the Chargers and will keep the price from going too silly.
My prediction if the Detroit Lions were to trade back to swap of first-rounders this season, would see the Chargers giving up their second-round pick in 2020 (37) and their first-round pick in 2021.
So the question is do the Chargers love either Tagovailoa or Herbert enough to make that trade? If healthy, Tagovailoa is easily worth that trade. But as things stand I’m not sure the Chargers can pull the trigger on that deal.
IF they get the chance, with the holes they have on their roster, particularly on defence, the Detroit Lions should definitely trade back to number 6. While Okudah may be off the board if the Giants take him, they have too many weak spots to pass it up in my opinion.
However, given the state of the QB market this season, I think they stay in the pick and take the best corner in the draft.