All Lions Mailbag: Will a Quarterback Be Drafted by Detroit in 2021?
With NFL training camps less than a month away, there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding how everything is going to play out with the current coronavirus pandemic.
Two preseason games have already been canceled and plenty of other precautions are being discussed.
In this week's mailbag, I’ll give my thoughts on what the NFL season might look like with COVID-19, could Stafford be on the move in 2021, the ceiling for rookie Jason Huntley, and if Jamal Agnew can supplant Marvin Hall as a receiver.
*Questions edited for clarity
1.) If the Lions are bad again this year (top-five draft pick in 2021 draft), what is the likelihood of Stafford getting traded or leaving the team? Knowing that Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields would probably be a viable choice in that draft slot. -- @JosePerales_11
Answer: If the Lions once again finish the season with a bottom-five record, I have to believe head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn would be forced out of town. In that case, it would not surprise me one bit if a new regime wanted a fresh start and the ability to hit the reset button.
Given how specific the current Lions roster is set up for Patricia and his unique scheme, the transition to a new defense wouldn’t likely be a quick turnaround. As much as think Matthew Stafford can lead a team to a Super Bowl in the right circumstances, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to keep him around during a three-year type of rebuild either.
At this point, grabbing Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields would be tempting at the top of the draft. Hopefully, if the Lions did trade Stafford, they would land a few other high draft picks as well.
In 2021, Stafford’s dead cap if he were to be traded is $19 million. That’s not a small figure, but in a rebuild, it’s fine for a year. Next year’s dead cap will not make him untradeable like he basically is for this season. I hope the Lions aren’t put in this hypothetical situation.
2.) What is your best-case scenario or ceiling for a player like Huntley on this Lions team? -- @DerekOkrie
A: The Lions drafted running back Jason Huntley in the fifth-round of this year’s draft. Currently, the 193-pound speedster is the fifth running back on the depth chart while the Lions have typically only kept four on their 53-man roster in recent years.
As a best-case scenario for his rookie campaign, I feel Huntley’s ceiling is a J.D. McKissic-like season. Huntley is solid in the pass-catching department and can even line up in the slot.
McKissic grabbed 34 passes in 2019 and those extra targets are now up for grabs after his departure. In saying this, I am not expecting a ton from Huntley on offense just due to the fact that the Lions have such a crowded backfield at the moment. Maybe he can carve out a nice role on special teams.
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3.) Can you see Agnew taking Marvin Halls's spot at WR? -- @EmoniBuckets
A: From a pure receiving standpoint, no.
However, in defense of Agnew, he is a more versatile player than Hall. Hall is very much a one-trick pony and really makes no impact outside of his valuable deep-ball role. It will be very interesting to see how Agnew progresses as a receiver in a truncated off-season.
I personally think he will be very limited with what he can do in terms of route running. It’s possible the Lions keep both players and just one less corner from a season ago. Remember, even though Agnew was a cornerback, he was rarely ever used at the position. The Lions shouldn’t feel obligated to try to replace the corner spot of Agnew just because he flipped over to the offensive side of the ball.
As of right now, my prediction is they both make the roster. If one has to be cut, I’ll say it’s Agnew who is shown the door.
4.) Do you think that there will be a season? And if so, will it be a season with fans in the seats? -- @Hokagaye
A: I do think there will be some type of season because the NFL is so dead set on making it happen. Even though I believe a season will be played, that’s not to say there won't be any hiccups or plenty of adjustments on the fly. There will inevitably be a team that has an outbreak at some point and I’m not sure how the NFL will handle it. It wouldn’t surprise me if games were canceled, moved, or rescheduled either. Who knows, maybe a miracle vaccine will come out mid-season and it will get everything back on track.
As far as the fans go, I believe there will be a few in the stands, but not many. Every stadium will probably be a little different.