The Lions need help on defense and the 49ers need a QB. Let’s make a deal.
On Wednesday, we took a look at just how awful the internet treats Russell Wilson, and how the Lions could help themselves in the draft while helping Seattle add some muscle up front to keep Wilson alive past 2017. Today’s topic of discussion centers around another team from the NFC West, and how yearning for a quarterback can make teams do silly things—like get tattoos.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were brimming with the potential to become a perennial powerhouse as recent as just three years ago. Instead, in the two seasons between Jim Harbaugh’s firing/resignation/mutual breakup/hierarchical dismissal, the 49ers have devolved into anything but that.
Harbaugh’s successor, Jim Tomsula, tried to reinvigorate the team by appealing to millennials and giving them breaks to check their phones and social media during team meetings. In return, his team scored a franchise-low 238 points on offense in 2015 and Tomsula got the axe. Chip Kelly moonlighted as the 49ers head coach last season, but 2-14 got him the boot, too.
But then, all of a sudden, right when it seemed like times couldn’t get any darker for Silicon Valley’s football club, someone emerged from the wreckage of Super Bowl 51. A hero from a team that blew a 25-point lead in said Super Bowl. A hero with Chris Simms initials tattooed on his leg! That’s right, everyone’s second-favorite Shanahan: Kyle! So, naturally, you’d think things are looking up for the 49ers, but things get better:
Seriously, what could go wrong?
- San Francisco trades No. 34, No. 66 and No. 219
- Detroit trades No. 21
Myles Garrett should be the first pick in the NFL Draft, but, of course, even the Browns might screw that up by faking themselves out, playing three-dimensional chess and thinking that their own savior from Ohio will not last until No. 12—a draft pick the Browns owe courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Should they manage to get out of their own way and take Garrett with the first pick, the 49ers and GM John Lynch will then find the pressure to pass on a QB shoveled onto them. That shouldn’t be a difficult situation to make for person with zero front office experience.
Long rumored to be interested in Kirk Cousins because Shanahan coached Cousins during his first few seasons in the NFL, San Francisco ultimately decided against trading for Cousins even though the 49ers were the only other team he was reportedly interested in playing for beyond 2017. Yes, you read that right: Cousins said there’s only one other team he’d play for and sign a long-term deal with, and that’s San Francisco. Look, it’s easy to see what’s going on here: Coach Shanahan got some new ink after he landed in NorCal, snapped it to Kirk with a “hey u up?” and somewhere, deep in the heart of Texas, Chris Simms is a jealous man. Hell hath no fury like a Simms scorned.
Essentially, if San Francisco makes a more sound decision at No. 2 by taking defensive end Solomon Thomas from Stanford or safety Jamal Adams from LSU, they’re still left with the Chicago Bears quarterbacks from 2016 holding things down. The 49ers see a name like DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes or Mitchell Trubisky on the board at No. 21 and they make the call. “All it takes is for one team to fall in love with a player” is a phrase commonly used during draft season, and there’s no phrase that rings truer when it comes to quarterbacks.
With this trade, Detroit can now set their sights on Day 2, armed with four selections between 34 and 85, and the chance to take advantage of this draft laden with defensive talents. A move like this even opens up the opportunity to take a chance on a prospect like Sidney Jones from Washington; perhaps the most talented cornerback in the draft, Jones suffered a torn Achilles but, according to his doctor, is scheduled to return in time to play this season. Believe that or not, if Jones slips to Detroit’s newly acquired pick at the beginning of the third round, taking Jones is much more palatable with the surrounding three picks as insurance.
By the time the Lions were on the clock at No. 21, the best available linebacker was Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan. Of course, I’m a fan of McMillan by default, and it may be for reasons almost entirely unrelated to his performance as a football player. But if this hypothetical scenario were to become a reality, well, that’s just no good for Detroit. Linebacker is a pressing need heading into the draft, and with all of the top names like Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick, Jarrad Davis and Zach Cunningham all off the board, Youngstown State’s Derek Rivers would be a phenomenal get at No. 34.
The hope was that Raekwon “The Chef” McMillan would slip down the draft board to the Lions pick at No. 53, but instead, with no viable options worth drafting at linebacker, UCLA’s athletically-gifted Fabian Moreau, whom the Lions met with earlier this month, was the next choice.
Detroit’s defensive line is a bit of an eclectic mix n’ match of talent. Some young and developing like A’Shawn Robinson, some intriguing like Kerry Hyder and some a bit long in the tooth, but still with something to offer like Haloti Ngata. Adding Chris Wormley, who has the potential to be the most consistent contributor coming out Michigan’s talented class this season, is a move that just flat out works for the Lions. Wormley is versatile, can line up all over the place along the defensive line and really has the athleticism and size to do it all at the NFL level.
Admittedly, Cooper Kupp probably won’t make it out of the second round, but if he does, taking him in the third round—which I considered doing at No. 66—shouldn’t be scoffed at by Lions fans. Still without a clear cut WR3, adding Kupp to a Matthew Stafford-led offense is a tantalizing thought:
You don’t want the Lions to go with a wideout this early? If they do, you don’t want it to be Kupp? Well, what do we have here, Pride Of Detroit? We got a Kupp(a) haters?
Until John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan are no longer employees making decisions for the 49ers, nothing happens within the confines of Levi’s Stadium that’ll be as exciting as this was in 2015: