Lions mailbag, Part 2: Should Detroit trade up to chase Ohio State's Young?
Allen Park — Welcome back to Part 2 of this week's Detroit Lions mailbag. Be sure to check out Part 1 from earlier this morning.
► Question. Do the Lions value Chase Young enough to jump to No. 1 to get him? — @j_Borders
► Answer. Under Quinn, the Lions have shown a willingness to give up assets, including draft equity, to land a player they want. They traded up for Kerryon Johnson, Da'Shawn Hand and Will Harris. But the cost to move up one or two spots at the top of the first round can be daunting.
Let's project that the Lions lose out. In that scenario, they'll be selecting between No. 2 and No. 4. If they manage to sneak up to No. 2, they won't need to move up. Cincinnati would be foolish to pass up LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
But if the Lions land at No. 3 or No. 4, the more likely scenario, the cost to move up will be steep. The 49ers netted two thirds and a fourth to flip spots with the Bears a couple of years back. Is Young worth that cost? I think you can make a good argument he is. Remember, the Lions offered a first- and a third-rounder for Khalil Mack in 2018.
But given the number of roster holes Detroit appears to have, I have a tough time seeing Quinn (or a different general manager) pulling the trigger on that kind of move. They could sit tight, snag an impact lineman such as Derrick Brown or A.J. Epenesa and keep their Day 2 picks.
► Q. There is a ___ percent chance Suh gets a personal foul penalty in this game? — @spleen95shortbr
► A. In the five years since leaving Detroit, Suh has been flagged for seven 15-yard penalties — three roughing the passer, two unnecessary roughness, one face mask and one horse collar tackle.
That's exactly one major penalty every 11 games, or 9.1 percent of his appearances. Unscientifically, we'll raise the likelihood this week because of the emotion involved with going against a former team.
Let's call it an even 10 percent.
► Q. All I want for Christmas is a Lions win, do you think that is a possibility?— @TNLion1
► A. Not great.
Vegas likes Tampa Bay this week, favoring the Buccaneers by four points. Even without star wide receiver Mike Evans, the Lions are going to struggle to slow down that offense, and I'm not sure they have the firepower to keep up with David Blough under center.
The following week, it's a trip to Denver, where the Broncos are suddenly playing well with rookie Drew Lock taking over at quarterback. Add in a tough road environment, outdoors with elevation, and it doesn't bode well for getting on track.
And the Lions close out the year against the Packers. If Green Bay doesn't win the previous week, on the road against the Vikings, the NFC North likely will be on the line in Week 17. And even if the Packers do have the division wrapped up, a first-round bye should be in play. So it seems unlikely they'll be resting any starters for that game.
► Q. Would you trade Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones for Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr.? — @azsharkey
► A. Ignoring the financials of this hypothetical, probably not. Beckham is the best player, when healthy, but he's proven to cause headaches at both of his stops. The Lions aren't a healthy enough franchise to absorb a diva of that magnitude.
► Q. Do we go heavy on defense in free agency and draft? And do big names like Trey Flowers come here to play for Patricia with the cap we have available like they did last offseason? — @jordan6sic6
► A. The Lions have enough holes on both sides of the ball to not over-commit resources to improving just one. They'll need to invest into the offensive line, and probably wide receiver, this offseason.
As for luring free agents, money talks. It's priority one for the overwhelming majority of players, so as long as the Lions are offering top dollar, they'll be able to attract decent players.
Flowers was a unique case because his relationship with Patricia was an intangible factor. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels said the same, but you can't convince me the $7.8 million deal the Lions waved in front of him wasn't the primary pull.
In terms of top-of-the-market options this year, there are some good defensive linemen. Chris Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Yannick Ngakoue, Arik Armstead and Dante Fowler stand out.
► Q. What do you see happening with A'Shawn Robinson and Graham Glasgow in the offseason? Do you believe their work deserves a new contract? — @michaelman1212
► A. I don't expect either to return. Glasgow is the option more worthy of bringing back, but if the Lions thought Kenny Wiggins deserved to eat into Glasgow's playing time, what does that say about their overall commitment to the former third-round pick?
As for Robinson, his career has been up and down, but his skill set is pretty well established at this point. He's a solid run stopper, but he offers almost nothing in the pass rush.
The ability to push the pocket, putting pressure in the face of the quarterback, is extremely important in the pass-happy NFL. The Lions should be looking to upgrade this spot.
► Q. If you had to trade Golladay to the Patriots, what would it take? — @jamiejmann
► A. What is going on with you guys today? Why is everyone trying to trade Golladay, one of your few bright, young pieces.
First of all, I'm not doing it. But if the Lions didn't want to pay the massive extension due to the receiver after next season, they should be able to ask for a first-round pick. That's what the Patriots paid for Brandin Cooks a few years back.
► Q. Bruce Arians' admiration for Jarrad Davis notwithstanding, is there a player on defense not named Darius Slay that other teams covet? — @_Smails_
► A. The two players who would generate the most interest if they were free agents tomorrow would be Flowers and safety Tracy Walker.
Flowers is the same player he was as a free agent this past offseason when he had multiple suitors. He may never have double-digit sacks, but he does a little bit of everything well.
As for Walker, he has the size, length and speed many NFL teams like at the safety position. He's still a developing talent, but he has a versatile skill set that would work in most schemes.
► Q. Who’s the cutest Detroit Lion? — @mansurshaheen
► A. I'm probably not qualified to answer this question, but if we surveyed the female segment of the fan base, I'd bet a significant amount of my paycheck that Danny Amendola would be the runaway winner.
► Q. I know I am on an island, but I believe the Lions should bring Quinn/Patricia back. One of the biggest problems we have is that we never stick with a plan. Am I wrong? — @dwmaki
► A. I don't know the exact phrase, but there's a business cliche about persisting in a mistake is making a mistake twice. Patience with a bad plan would be a poor use of patience.
The Lions exhibited patience with Matt Millen. How did that work out? How about more than two decades with Russ Thomas?
I don't know if Quinn or Patricia can turn this around. But you have to ask yourself, what have you seen, to date, that merits more time? Quinn has put an emphasis on building up the team's offensive line, has reworked the tight end room twice and put a ton of resources into the defensive line. What does he have to show for it?
The tight ends are unproductive two years running, the offensive line is still a below-average run blocking unit and the defensive front, banged-up or not, can't generate steady pressure for the second straight year.
Yes, Quinn has had landed some nice pieces in the draft, but the roster's depth is a disaster and that was his stated focus his first day on the job.
And despite claims to the contrary, Patricia's record is the only thing that matters, and that's 9-19-1. That's worse than Jim Schwartz and Steve Mariucci. Patricia would have to go 26-9 over the next two years to match Jim Caldwell.
Maybe the brass stick and maybe they turn around. There's no guaranteed formula for how these things work. For every situation like Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, there's probably five where the extra year of employment didn't do anybody any favors. Similarly, there's no assurance a coaching or GM change would be the catalyst that propels Detroit to the next level. You have more than six decades of Lions history to prove that.
► Q. Presidents Cup is this week. Who would be the best Lions duo in four ball match play? — @C_McKim
► A. Don Muhlbach is my lock. I'd pit Matthew Stafford and Sam Martin against each other in a three-hole playoff to determine the long snapper's partner.
► Q. Do you think the Lions will keep David Blough or Jeff Driskel as backups for next year or draft another QB? — @DavidMalian
► A. The sample sizes are small, but both have shown enough where I'm interested in the possibility. With Driskel, his mobility is the selling point. I don't think the value of being able to move in and out of the pocket can be emphasized enough.
As for Blough, he doesn't have any exceptional physical gifts, but there's something appealing about the confidence he exhibits as a rookie.
But who knows what the draft presents. If there's an option to get a better long-term talent at a bargain price, you pull the trigger and sort out the details later.
► Q. Is the recent solid play of Amani Oruwariye at corner a credit to the coaching staff or an indictment for not playing him sooner? — @hansen_chadwick
► A. Well, he was hurt in the preseason and that knee issue lingered through much of the early portion of the year, so let's not blame the coaching staff for allowing him heal properly before forcing him into action.
As for his performance, I think many of us who saw him in college could see the talent. The size and length stand out immediately, but he also showed a nice knack for playing the ball while at Penn State.
Injuries have created an opportunity to see what he can do at this level. He hasn't faced any particularly tough coverage assignments yet, so praise should be measured, but credit for the early success goes first and foremost to his own work ethic. That said, he doesn't reach a point where he's ready to contribute within the scheme as a rookie without being brought along by the coaching staff.
► Q. Why, when the NFL celebrates its 100th year and its history, do the Leos decide to shelf the throwback jerseys? — @rdeforge
► A. They wore the throwbacks against Kansas City in Week 4.
► Q. Why haven't the Lions mended the relationship with Calvin Johnson yet? — @Mixxism1
► A. Yeah, it really remains toxic, doesn't it? These are tough bridges to mend, because it's not just about the money, but about the perception of respect. Johnson sacrificed his health and gave the Lions everything he had to the Lions for the better part of the decade and felt it was a slap in the face to go after what is an inconsequential amount of money to the organization.
I've proposed this before, but I think I have a quick way to resolve this issue. The Lions need to organize a private meeting, but instead of cutting Johnson a check for $1 million, they should agree to donate the money in his name to charities of his choosing. Pair that with a sincere apology and it should do the trick.
► Q. What do you think the possibilities of Kerryon Johnson having a bounce-back year next season, like Dalvin Cook did this year? — @Zachosh3
► A. Johnson will never stack up to Cook, in terms of workload. Even though they are listed at nearly the same weight, Cook is more stout and built to handle the physical beating between the tackles. They have different bodies and different running styles.
Johnson isn't cut out to be a workhorse, but that's OK. Neither is Alvin Kamara, and look at the numbers he's put up during his career.
As a rookie, Johnson was one of the most efficient backs in the NFL. That productivity plummeted prior to his injury this season, but much of that had to do with the blocking. His yards before contact was among the worst in the NFL.
I have no reason to doubt he won't come back healthy and explosive, so it's a matter of the Lions bolstering the blocking in front of him. He might never be a 1,400-yard rusher, but Johnson can be a guy who contributes 1,200 or more yards from scrimmage over a full season.
► Q. There's lots of speculation about the future of Quinn/Patricia in Detroit. Not asking for a prediction here, but do we have any insights into how decisions like this (GM, coaching, personnel) get made in the Ford Bunker? — @nuzach
► A. OK, those are three separate questions.
First, personnel decisions are made by the general manager, after consulting with Patricia.
With coaching decisions, Patricia has full control of his own staff, while Quinn controls Patricia's fate, although given the contract situation, the general manager would certainly need ownership approval before making any move.
Finally, Quinn's job security is controlled by owner Martha Ford, but vice chair Sheila Hamp Ford, the most involved of the four Ford children, would carry a significant amount of pull in those conversations.