With the NFL Scouting Combine getting underway, rumours concerning teams looking to trade up or down ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft are gaining traction.
In particular, the Detroit Lions and the #3 pick are getting much of the attention. Lions GM Bob Quinn did not rule out a trade in his latest interview for the club’s official website. This will only add fuel to the fire of speculation that a deal may happen prior to April’s draft.
Of course, any team actively looking to trade down needs a collection of prospective trade partners looking to out-bid one another. Let’s explore some potential scenarios.
Panthers get aggressive
Question marks continue to linger over the future of current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The relatively new owner of the Panthers, David Tepper, looks set to rubber stamp his own identity on this team. How better to do that than get aggressive in the draft and land one of the top prospects.
The #7 overall pick they own is likely too low to use on a top quarterback. Therefore a trade between Panthers and Lions might be on the cards, especially if the Panthers hierarchy have their eyes on a QB in particular.
It’s difficult to predict just how much the Panthers would be willing to give up. They will also likely look to free agency and see if a deal can be made. Either way, they will need to trade away Cam Newton to justify going big on a new signal caller.
Raiders roll the dice
Set to begin life as the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, owner Mark Davis may look to make a splash as hosts of the 2020 NFL draft. What better way to win over a brand new fan-base with a statement of intent like trading up for your face of the franchise.
Again armed with multiple first-round picks, as they were with the 2019 draft, rumours of finding the successor to Derek Carr have shown no signs of abating for what seems like two years now. Carr is adamant he has a long-term future with the silver and black. Time will tell.
If the Raiders were to move up the order, they would likely have to part with both of their first-rounders (12th and 19th picks). After securing a haul in 2019 with their three first round selections, possibly the time is now to make a move for a QB.
Miami make a move
The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks to their name this year. In addition to their #5 pick, they acquired the #18 and #26 picks from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans respectively via mid-season trades. These picks may come into play should a trade between the Lions and Dolphins come to fruition.
Such was the bounty Miami received from the Texans however, they may still be able to pull off a trade and keep a hold of multiple first-rounders for either the 2020 or 2021 draft. They are also the owners of Houston’s first and second round picks for next year’s draft.
With all these high round picks at their disposal, the Dolphins should have no trouble at all in packaging up a tempting offer for the Lions. For sure, they are in the strongest position amongst all trade-up candidates, it will just be a case of whether or not they feel the need to move up to land their future QB.
Stick with the pick
It’s no guarantee the Lions will do away with the #3 pick. They will only agree to a deal if they are confident they can draft one of their targets later in the round. All of the above teams would like to have Tua Tagovailoa on their rosters, the perceived 2nd best QB in the draft behind Joe Burrow. It’s rather unlikely the Lions would take Tagovailoa if they choose to stay at #3. So moving down a few spots will not necessarily majorly impact their approach to the draft.
They have been linked with a wide variety of positions. Popular options in mock drafts have included Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. All of these would be wise additions. They will have to assess in the coming weeks if these mentioned targets, plus any others they may want, would be available in a trade back scenario.
If a QB rush occurs within top 8 or so picks, it will fall right into the Lions’ hands. During the combine, they ought to keep their ears to the ground to hear out for any potential movers.
In many ways the draft is a real lottery. Good thing for the Lions they stand a greater chance of having a winning ticket. If played correctly, they can win more than just the one top recruit.