Detroit with four first-rounders? Four QBs drafted within the first five picks?! Here’s how that can happen

2020 NFL draft
2020 NFL Draft QB History

Detroit is on the verge of becoming “draft rich.”

Like, Jeff Bezos “draft rich.”

It all depends on what Washington does with the No. 2 overall pick.

The Redskins have been linked to Ohio State defensive end Chase Young ever since the draft order was set. However, rumors persist that Washington and new head coach Ron Rivera might instead consider taking a quarterback with their pick: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who was recently cleared for all football activities.

From Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer:

“Heard this from multiple people, and one scout put it simply, in answering my question: Washington actually could take Tua.”

LSU’s Joe Burrow, meanwhile, remains the presumptive No. 1 overall pick, held by Cincinnati. Likewise, Oregon QB Justin Herbert remains a virtual lock to go in the top 10, regardless of what happens with the two QBs above him.

However, if Washington takes a quarterback in the first round for the second consecutive year, then one player in particular will be profoundly impacted: Utah State’s Jordan Love.

The Love consolation prize

While quarterbacks like Jacob Eason of Washington, Jake Fromm of Georgia, Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma and Anthony Gordon of Washington State could sneak into the first round, the gap between them and Love is more significant than the gap between Love and the top-three QBs.

It comes down to supply and demand. There’s never enough supply of above-average starters at quarterback. When you add a team like Washington that previously was thought to be set at the position (after drafting Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins last season with the No. 15 overall pick), now the demand becomes even greater for the last of the perceived “top-tier” quarterbacks.

And that’s where the somewhat polarizing Love enters the picture.

No one questions his athletic ability or arm strength, but there are worries surrounding his accuracy, ability to read defenses and high interception rate.

Still, Love is viewed as the fourth-best QB and a likely top-20 pick.

However, if Cincinnati takes Burrow and Washington takes Tagovailoa, then that leaves Detroit with even more options. Of course, the Lions could stand pat and take Young, who is considered by many analysts as the top overall talent in this draft.

But the asking price for a QB-needy team goes up even higher if Washington takes Tagovailoa, meaning the bounty for the third overall pick would be substantial.

What it would take to move up

Keep in mind, moving out of the third spot likely means losing out on Young, but the Lions could be the recipient of a bidding-war for Herbert’s services from QB-needy teams Miami, Carolina, and the Los Angeles Chargers. You can also throw into the mix teams like Las Vegas (12th pick), Indianapolis (13th pick) and Tampa (14th).

For those teams, Love now becomes the proverbial consolation prize for whichever teams lose out on Herbert.

Consider the 2016 trade by Philadelphia to land Carson Wentz with the second-overall pick. To swap first-round picks with Cleveland and move up from the eighth overall pick to the second overall pick, Philadelphia also traded away its third- and fourth-round picks in 2016, its first-round pick in 2017 and its second-round pick in 2018.

By that logic, if Carolina or Los Angeles wants to trade with Detroit for the third-overall pick, it could offer this year’s first-, third- and fourth-round picks, plus next year’s first and a second-round pick in 2022.

But Miami – with five first-round and four second-round picks over the next two years – can trump anyone’s offer.

Let’s say Miami’s pick at No. 5 and No. 18 and its pick at No. 39 in the second round is enough to entice Detroit to swap picks – yes, a hefty price, but that’s what happens in a bidding war.

And let’s assume the New York Giants see Young fall into their laps, leaving Detroit back on the clock at pick No. 5.

Armed with the knowledge that Las Vegas, Indianapolis and Tampa could try to trade up to draft Love, Los Angeles and Carolina may feel compelled to turn, once again, to Detroit with their original offers (swap this year’s first-round picks, this year’s third- and fourth-round picks, next year’s first and a 2022  second-round pick).

If the team makes that trade with Carolina, for example, then the end result would net Detroit two first-round picks this year (No. 7 and No. 18), plus two picks in each of the second, third, and fourth rounds. And Detroit would still have its own first-round pick plus Carolina’s first-rounder next year, plus an extra second-round pick from Miami in 2022 — all for moving down five spots in the draft.

And that would result in four quarterbacks being selected within the first five picks, a feat that’s never been accomplished before in the NFL draft.


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