Last year, as the Detroit Lions made some surprising picks, rumors kept popping up that the players they took were about to get selected by another team. They grabbed Frank Ragnow—a perceived mild reach—right before the Bengals and Patriots were targeting him. They sniped Kerryon Johnson right before Washington was going to take him. And Tracy Walker, perhaps their biggest “reach” of all, was reportedly going to go to the Panthers three picks later.
As fans continue to scratch their head of their 2019 second-round pick Jahlani Tavai, some rumors have already started to creep out that they may have taken a player the New England Patriots were interested in taking.
NFL Network's @MoveTheSticks on Lions second round pick Jahlani Tavai: "I was told that the Patriots love this player." pic.twitter.com/s06AY9rvfl— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) April 27, 2019
Daniel Jeremiah’s report is corroborated by a couple of local guys: Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon and Bryce Rossler:
I also had heard this, as well as serious interest in Tavai by the Eagles. That was just verified to me from someone I trust. https://t.co/4J7JwqXtBq— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) April 27, 2019
There was no imminent danger that the Patriots were going to take him, as New England was sitting at 56 to the Lions’ 43. However, New England eventually moved up to 45 to select cornerback Joejuan Williams, suggesting they certainly had a Plan B if Tavai was their Plan A.
Of course, just because the Patriots were interested in a guy doesn’t mean it’s any less of a reach or that he is sure to work out in Detroit. However, it’s starting to become clearer that this prospect wasn’t as much of an unknown to NFL scouts as it was to some of the NFL media.