NFL Draft trades: How 2 blockbuster moves impact the Detroit Lions
There was big news on Friday afternoon that will shock waves during the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the San Francisco 49ers act up to the third overall pick, giving the Miami Dolphins their 12th overall pick, a pick for the third round in 2022 and a pick for the first round in 2022 and 2023 – also known as Matthew Stafford – chic special.
It’s hard not to see this move as anything other than an aggressive urge by the 49ers to grab a quarterback, though it’s unclear which one they might be targeting. If they act to third place it would mean they would be satisfied with a few options behind the suspected first overall win, Trevor Lawrence.
But the trades were not made. Moments later, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Dolphins jumped straight back into the top 10, taking their new 12th overall victory and jumping to six – a spot just ahead of the Detroit Lions – by giving the Eagles one of their top 2022 sent round picks.
As for the Detroit Lions, I’m sure they would have jumped on an offer like this last year when they didn’t make offers on their third overall selection, but that deal could certainly affect what they do this year . Here are four ways this trade is affecting General Manager Brad Holmes and the company.
If Lions want a top 4 QB, they likely need to act
It seemed like things were headed in that direction as many bill drafts made four quarterbacks in the top 5, but that now seems to be a certainty. Here are the top four tips and the current starting quarterback for each team.
- Jaguars – Gardner Minshew
- Jets – Sam Darnold
- 49ers – Jimmy Garoppolo
- Hawks – Matt Ryan
At this point, these top three teams appear to be tied to a quarterback, although reports suggest the 49ers have no interest in trading with Garoppolo. As for the Falcons and Matt Ryan, there is a new coaching staff and general manager in town, and while in Ryan they have shown some level of commitment to a contract reorganization this off-season, they could easily split after two more seasons.
With the Dolphins now back in front of the Lions with their sixth overall win, it is entirely possible that Miami will be looking to upgrade Tua Tagovailoa after a disappointing rookie season.
QB-hungry teams in the 10-20 range could still come to Detroit
If these quarterbacks fall off the board quickly, there is a chance a fifth quarterback could slip into the top 10. The Carolina Panthers, who are voting right after the Lions, have not kept it a secret that they are looking to upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater.
All it takes is a team – be it the Patriots (selection 14), Raiders (17) or even the Eagles (12) – to fall in love with Mac Jones. Running quarterbacks fast could cause a team to become desperate and aggressive and the Lions would be in a good place to take advantage of the action.
There are precedents for such things. Go back to the 2011 draft. With the eighth overall win, the Titans shocked everyone by picking Jake Locker. The QB needy Jacksonville Jaguars no longer wanted to sit on their hands waiting for a quarterback, so they jumped from 16 to 10 to coat Blaine Gabbert. Two picks later, the Vikings picked themselves up to pick Christian Ponder.
Most of the players in skill positions will be there for the Lions
With a number of quarterbacks now virtually guaranteed at the top of the draft, the Lions are almost certain to have a shot at the top options on wide receivers and, yes, tight end. That chance improves even more as the Philadelphia Eagles – a team in dire need of offensive weapons right now – are now in the top 10. The team she’s replacing, the Dolphins, just added Will Fuller to the free agency.
The Lions do not have a single recipient with a guaranteed spot on the roster after 2021. So if Detroit decides to keep the seventh overall pick, it would be wise to consider a future passport catcher there.
Don’t count Penei Sewell out
For many, it was a foregone conclusion that the Oregon offensive against Penei Sewell would be gone by the time the Lions were on the clock. But with four quarterbacks off the board – and possibly a fifth if a team gets desperate enough – the Lions could get a shot at the most consensual offensive lineman in this year’s class.
The Lions only added $ 60 million to Taylor Decker by four years last year, but when he works with Sewell it’s one of the best offensive duos in the league adding to an offensive front that’s already a Pro Bowl has middle and a talented young left guard. It would be an unconventional move to consider some of the holes elsewhere on the roster, but the talent may be too great for Holmes to pass up.