The Detroit Lions' ability to trade down in the first round of the NFL Draft has always hinged on the idea that a team — most likely the Miami Dolphins or Los Angeles Chargers — would make an offer to come up for a quarterback. But one former general manager doesn't like Detroit's chances of trading down from the No. 3 spot.
Mark Dominik, who currently works as an NFL analyst for SiriusXM after a 20-year career as an NFL scout, front office executive and general manager, thinks the Lions might be out of luck when it comes to another franchise paying the asking price to land either Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert.
"It's tricky what you're asking about the quarterback position," Dominik said during a Tuesday conference call. "Tua is the much better talent. I think everybody kind of realizes that, in terms of velocity, competitiveness, leadership. He just checks it. I don't think there's a GM out there worried about Tua playing in 2020. He's showing on these videos and everything that he's healthy. It's will he be there in 2022 or 2028? That's what you're really struggling with with Tua.
"I don't think you have to trade up to get Tua because there are enough medical concerns."
As a former decision-maker, Dominik vouched for the strategy of being aggressive on draft day, even if it means overpaying in a trade to ensure you get the players you covet. But he doesn't see Herbert fitting that mold for another general manager.
"I just think a lot of people look at him and say, 'Is he Marcus Mariota?'" Dominik said. "That makes some clubs a little nervous. I still think he goes first round. I talked to a couple quarterback guys that say he's a third-round talent and I think he's much better than that. But I don't think he's a guy you have to go trade up to get."
As for Tagovailoa, Dominik still sees Miami as a likely landing spot. The Dolphins currently hold the No. 5 selection, and if the Alabama quarterback is on the board, Dominik wondered aloud if a misfire on a past medical evaluation will influence Miami's thought process.
"Talking to (New Orleans Saints general manager) Mickey Loomis, we all give Miami a hard time for passing on Drew Brees because they didn't pass him on the physical," Dominik said. "Mickey Loomis always says, 'What about the other 30 clubs that didn't bring him in? Those should be the ones that should be in trouble.' I wonder if there's a hint of let's not have another Drew Brees slip through here and go ahead and take him. They may have that mentality. I wouldn't be surprised.
"I think Miami probably will take him."
Brandt not as high on Okudah
Gil Brandt, a Hall of Fame NFL executive and Dominik's co-host on SiriusXM, isn't head over heels for Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, like many other draft analysts.
Okudah has routinely been mocked to the Lions in recent months, both at No. 3 or in various trade down scenarios involving the Dolphins and Chargers, who currently hold the sixth pick.
Brandt, who released a top-150 ranking of prospects earlier this week, ranked Okudah No. 13 overall. In those rankings, posted on NFL.com, Brandt questions Okudah's physicality and states Denzel Ward, another former Ohio State standout selected No. 4 by the Browns in 2018, was the better prospect.
During the conference call, Brandt hedged on his own assessment, but highlighted Okudah's combine performance as part of the rationale for the assessment.
"I don't know how Mark felt about it, Okudah's workout at the combine I didn't think was all that good," Brandt said. "He's a player from right here in town, in Dallas, and I knew him as a high school player. I do think he's a pretty good player. I had him about my 10th ranked player, which is probably too low. ...It's just a matter of how good he is. Do you take a guy like that at three or do you try to move down?"
Okudah suffered a hard landing during position drills at the combine, but still opted to participate in multiple events. He clocked in at 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash and his 41-inch leap ranked second at his position in the vertical jump.