Draft Watch: Lions Bring In Tua For 'Virtual Visit'


Tua to the Lions? Don't rule it out just yet. 

The Alabama quarterback had a 'virtual visit' with Detroit this week, according to the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The Dolphins and Chargers remain Tua's most likely landing spots, but the Lions will likely have the first crack at him with the third overall pick. 

"Let's talk about No. 3, because that’s the Lions right there, and I am told that he did have an interview with the Lions in the last couple of days here," Garafolo reported Thursday. "There’s been some talk, would Detroit take a quarterback at No. 3? The spot at which many people believe the draft actually starts, because we’re expecting Joe Burrow and Chase Young (to go) 1, 2. There’s a lot more uncertainty at 3."

It's widely assumed the Lions will go defense with their top pick, whether they trade down or stay put. Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah remains the favorite. Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia are under pressure to win in 2020, so they need players who can contribute right away. 

Tagovailoa doesn't check that box. Any scenario where he goes to the Lions likely includes him spending a year under Matthew Stafford's wing. Detroit isn't trading Stafford this offseason, so Tua wouldn't move the needle in 2020. 

Is it possible Quinn and Patricia convinced ownership to grant them another year in order to integrate a new franchise QB? Sure, in theory. But probably not. 

In all likelihood, the Lions interviewed Tua to a) do their due diligence and b) drive up the trade value of the third overall pick. If they create the impression they might draft him, they can demand more from a team that wants to move up like the Dolphins or Chargers. 

"The Lions have already received calls and had talks with teams about possibly trading back," Garafolo added. "So is this interest in Tagovailoa just to get (those teams) a little nervous and get them to move up to No. 3? Or are they actually considering taking a quarterback there? We shall find out in the coming weeks." 

From @NFLTotalAccess: Smoke screen to generate trade interest or legit homework? The #Lions conducted a virtual visit with Tua Tagovailoa recently, adding to the #NFLDraft intrigue at No. 3. pic.twitter.com/RLKdNKMT4j

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 10, 2020