ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his latest 2020 NFL mock draft on Tuesday, and it is playing into the Matthew Stafford trade rumor mill that has picked up in recent weeks.
The NFL’s new league year kicks off on March 18th, at which point trades and free agency signings can officially get going. Teams and players are already talking, and while that is against league rules, it still happens. It’s the reason trades and signings are executed fairly quickly when the new league year opens.
Stafford has an unwieldy contract, but that has not stopped the buzz that the Detroit Lions are shopping their quarterback. Detroit’s GM has denied the rumors, but we know denials are worth the paper they’re printed on. It actually doesn’t make cap sense to trade Stafford, but teams do crazy things all the time.
In his latest mock draft, Kiper has the Lions drafting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the third overall pick. Kiper said there is some buzz that the Lions like Tagovailoa, but he also acknowledges it could just be a smoke screen. He talks about pick No. 3 being a “perfect spot for a team to trade up to get a quarterback.”
We know the Chargers, Raiders, Dolphins and plenty of other teams could be looking to spend a first round pick on the QB position. With Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, and others in the mix, day one could get wild. We know Miami and LA are decent bets to draft a quarterback at No. 5 and No. 6 if nothing happens above them, and that could get other teams (or those two teams) moving up to get their hopeful franchise QB. If LA wants Tua, it makes a lot of sense to trade up ahead of Miami. It makes sense for Las Vegas and other teams as well given the value placed on the quarterback position.
Free agency could shake some of this up plenty on its own. Tom Brady and Drew Brees both have a chance of hitting the market, Ryan Tannehill could get paid after an impressive half season, and Cam Newton could get traded. A lot can and will change between now and late April.