- Detroit is in need of defensive help and picking third overall in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 23rd
- Jeff Okudah is the best corner in the draft and a natural replacement for the departed Darius Slay who is now in Philadelphia
- Will the Lions pick Okudah at three or trade back for a team chasing a QB?
The Detroit Lions are the team to watch in the top five of the 2020 NFL Draft. Joe Burrow and Chase Young are a shoo-in to go one-two on Thursday while Giants GM Dave Gettleman is still social distancing from the idea of trading down.
If any team is looking to jump into the top five, the Detroit Lions look to be the team to field your calls.
So while the mock draft consensus is that Detroit will land Jeff Okudah, this year’s top cornerback, the odds of who will be taken with the third pick are still pretty wide open, because of that potential for a draft day trade.
2020 NFL Draft 3rd-Overall Pick Odds
|Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State)||+150|
|Derrick Brown (LB, Auburn)||+500|
|Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)||+500|
|Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)||+500|
|Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)||+1000|
|Chase Young (EDGE, Ohio State)||+1600|
|C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)||+1600|
Odds taken April 20th
Who will hear their name called third on Thursday? Let’s explore.
Motor City Sputtering
The squeaky-clean Houston Astros had a 3-2 lead in the World Series the last time the Lions won a football game. Let that sink in.
Despite a horrific nine game skid to close out the year, Matt Patricia is returning to coach Detroit for yet another season of uninspiring football. And as is the case since he got here, defense remains the Lions biggest area of need.
in the Patriots’ last year under Matt Patricia they were 31st in yards per play allowed and two years later they’re basically the best defense of all time
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 28, 2019
The Lions already needed serious secondary help this offseason, even before trading away Darius Slay. Meanwhile, the rest of their defensive holes have been plugged by ex-Pats who won’t live up to their contract, because no one that leaves Foxborough ever does.
While Detroit could also use the pass rushing help and flexibility a prospect like Isaiah Simmons provides, newly acquired Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins can fill that role for at least a little while.
At corner, the team has no one of note behind veteran Desmond Trufant.
With Duron Harmon and Danny Shelton headed to Detroit, they've become the fourth and fifth former Patriots to join the Lions in the last two offseasons.
All under a familiar coach. pic.twitter.com/XeLECQtdNm
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) March 18, 2020
Lately, the best way to figure out what move Detroit will make is to simply ask: what would New England have done three years ago? But considering the Pats haven’t picked in the top five this century, Patricia won’t be able to cheat off Belichick’s sheet this time.
Teams Looking to Move
The Dolphins and Chargers are the two obvious answers for teams that need a QB of the future. Others like the Raiders and Patriots could make a move if a prospect like Tagovailoa starts falling, but they don’t have the ammo to pique the Lions interest.
Text from a participant on the NFL’s mock draft that started at 1 pm EST. “Mock draft today already technical glitch w Cincinnatis 1st pick!!! Brutal.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2020
When it comes to trade scenarios, there appears to be little to lose if Detroit wants to let one of these QB-needy teams leap in front of them. If Okudah is truly the player the Lions covet, the chances are he’ll still be there at five or six.
The Giants invested a first round pick at corner last year and just paid James Bradberry handsomely, while the Dolphins are also loaded in the secondary.
There’s seemingly no downside to letting the Dolphins or Chargers jump up to get their guy at three. And yet, it might be difficult for Detroit to deal the pick, based on the difficulty GMs are apparently having with virtual draft setup.
Who’s the Trade Target?
The closer we get to draft day, the more it sounds like Herbert could actually jump Tua. According to insiders like Mel Kiper, the biggest reason teams are balking at Tagovailoa remains the health of that hip. A clean bill of health apparently doesn’t mean much from a doctor unless he’s employed by your team.
Buying into the latest chatter, I’ll say to put money on Herbert getting the call. But you can play both QBs and still come out ahead as long as the Lions trade their pick to Miami or the Los Angeles Chargers, which is what makes the most sense.
Pick: Justin Herbert (+500)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.