On Monday, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announced that the will forgo his final year with the Crimson Tide and declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip earlier in the season that caused the Crimson Tide quarterback to miss the back half of the 2019 season. That injury, along with some other ailments along the way, has Tagovailoa’s draft value in question. He’s still rehabbing and it’s unclear how soon he could be in playing shape again.
That being said, prior to his injuries he was considered an easy top-five pick in the draft. Mel Kiper has him as the third overall prospect on his 2020 draft board. Given the recent success of young, rookie quarterbacks, you’d have to think his value remains high entering the draft this year.
This decision could certainly benefit the Lions, who currently sit with the third overall pick. While Detroit isn’t likely to be looking for a quarterback themselves that early in the draft—as the Lions have said year after year that they are committed to Matthew Stafford—they have a handful of quarterback-needy teams behind them in the draft order. The Dolphins are a couple spots back at five, the Chargers at six, the Panthers at seven and maybe even the Jaguars at nine.
That potentially makes Detroit’s pick that much more valuable for a potential trade down. The more top-tier quarterback talent in the 2020 NFL Draft pool, the better for Detroit if they have no clear-cut pick with that third overall selection. Remember, just a year ago, the Chicago Bears sent a third-round, fourth-round and a future third-round pick to move just one spot from three to two.
For a team that certainly doesn’t feel just one piece away, the Lions’ third overall draft pick now has a lot more value.