On April 23, 2020, the NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event is heralded as the day college studs either start their journey of becoming a star or a bust. The Detroit Lions hold the third overall pick this year, which could potentially be the pick that puts the Lions on a new path.
There are a plethora of things that the Lions need patched in their lineup, and therefore a plethora of moves they could potentially make. How the Lions draft will likely be determined on a lot of factors in the upcoming months such as the combine, where players showcase different skills such as the 40-yard dash and bench press.
The combine begins on February 23 and is massive in identifying who the Lions should target. Currently, mock-drafts all over the internet have the Lions doing one of three things: Picking cornerback Jeff Okudah from Ohio State, picking quarterback Tua Tagovaoila from Alabama or trading out of the third pick entirely.
None of these three things are bad per se but there are a lot of things to consider. Picking Okudah is the safest choice. Detroit would get a fast and talented cornerback that will need some time to develop and also get a player that could replace veteran cornerback Darius Slay if he decides to leave in the off-season.
I don’t get the feeling that Okudah is really what the majority of the fanbase wants though. For years, it seems the Lions have either been playing it safe or choosing someone who nobody’s ever heard of. Even diehard Lions fans are becoming tired of the constant losing and bad management.
So that leaves the star on the board — Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa has been a national phenom since his debut in the 2018 CFP Finals where he led Alabama to a championship victory over Georgia. Picking Tagovailoa is a big risk, as he’s coming off a grisly injury, but it could become the point at which things finally turn around in Detroit.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper thinks that if the Lions take Tua, then it’ll send a message to management. A message that it’s time to stop playing it safe and go for the guy that could be Matt Stafford’s successor. Stafford has had a great career in Detroit and I love him but he’s on the older side and his contract is massive.
There is another risk involved in drafting Tagovailoa. There are reports going around that he doesn’t seem very interested in playing for Detroit and that his family isn’t interested either.
That’s one of the biggest problems about the Lions; they’re seen as the franchise that ruined the great careers of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson. Guys are scared to play there. I still think picking Tagovailoa is a reasonable option due to his talent. Also because they’d have enough time to make him more interested in staying a Lion.
Still, neither of these picks could happen. The Lions could trade the third pick to Miami or Los Angeles, who are drooling at the chance to take Tagovailoa. If the Lions took advantage of that interest they’d get a few good picks in return from either of those two teams.
But in the opinion of a Lions fan who has seen so many losses over the last 20 years, change things up. Take Tua Tagovailoa and make the Lions a team that people want to watch again.