This Thursday, April 23rd has the stage set (sort of) for NFL history to be made.
The NFL Draft will be held exclusively in an online format for the first time ever, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the selections for each team from his home in New York. The. The 85th annual draft, which initially was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, was scrapped due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
That’s right everyone!
There will be no fans.
There will be no visual of the number one pick shaking Goodell’s hand.
And there will be no judging of crazy suits the draft picks would’ve worn.
What a bummer right?
Details of the upcoming draft are currently vague. The NFL has kept a tight lid on the dynamics of what fans can expect. The only certain thing is the business will go on as usual; much to the chagrin of NFL general managers across the league. Due to the social distancing guidelines, teams do not have the opportunity to conduct normal pre-draft routines. This goes from performing medical evaluations to organizations meeting in their war rooms to prepare. With this being the case, one can surmise that video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom will be utilized. That way, the coaches and general managers of each team will still be able to conduct war room activities, just in a digital format.
Organizations like the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, this may not affect their process that much. Those two organizations are just examples of teams that have a knack for finding a diamond in the rough each year.
However, for a team like the Detroit Lions, one that has a history of questionable drafting, this could be a complete disaster, even with the third pick.
WHOM SHOULD DETROIT SELECT AT NO. 3?
For a team that doesn’t have the number one pick, the Detroit Lions find themselves in the driver’s seat of this draft.
Unfortunately, they are in a compromising position as well.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are basically on the hot seat. Failure to make the right selection in this will do more than set the organization back for years to come.
It may also cost them their jobs.
Over the last several years, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has dealt with a series of significant back injuries. Stafford, 32, is entering his 11th season with the Lions and he isn’t getting any younger. Knowing that, selecting a quarterback should be the obvious decision for Quinn and Patricia. Especially since former Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa is expected to still be available. Tagovailoa, who is recovering from a dislocated hip, is still projected to be a “once in a lifetime” type of quarterback. He could potentially sit this year while learning behind Stafford, and becoming his successor shortly.
There is one problem with this theory though.
Expecting Quinn and Patricia to select a project in Tagovailoa and their jobs being on the line is not ideal. Which leaves the Lions with the more practical move.
TRADE OUT OF NO. 3
The most realistic option for the Lions should be to trade out of the number three slot. There is a bevy of scenarios for them to trade down and acquire more pieces to help them immediately. It also alleviates the pressure of the Lions potentially making the wrong selection. An example of that would be drafting Ohio State Jeff Okudah at number three.
Okudah, who is the touted as the best cornerback in the draft, is very steep for the Lions at number three. And as great as Okudah can potentially be, he’s not the guy for the Lions to take at that spot. The smart and safe move would be to trade out of the pick after seeing whom Washington selects with the second pick. A dream scenario would be for Washington to throw a curveball and pass on Ohio State’s Chase Young.
In that case, keeping the third pick is a no-brainer, and you take Young without hesitation.
As vague as the NFL has been about how this virtual draft will work, the Lions have been vague about the direction they will head in with the third pick.
When having the third pick in the draft, the Lions have either been hit (Barry Sanders) or miss (Joey Harrington).
If Quinn and Patricia plan to be in Detroit past this season, this pick can be nothing less than a hit.
When, Where and How To Watch the NFL Draft
The NFL Draft 2020 will air on Thursday, April 23 at 8:00 PM EST, Friday, April 24 at 7:00 PM EST and Saturday, April 25 at 12 PM EST. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday. The last four rounds will happen on Saturday.
ABC, ESPN and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. ESPN and NFL Network are joining forces for the draft broadcast, using combined resources to offer a singular presentation across both networks. ABC will offer its own unique broadcast for the first three rounds.
In addition to ABC, ESPN and NFL Network airing the draft live on broadcast TV, you can live stream the Draft on the WatchESPN app or the NFL Mobile app. You can also use streaming services such as Sling TV or YouTube TV.