Bob Quinn hung an “open for business” sign on the No. 3 pick in next month’s NFL draft, but like most of the country, the novel coronavirus could force him to close up shop.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said in a teleconference Wednesday that Quinn and the Detroit Lions could have a harder time trading down from No. 3 because of recent pre-draft restrictions put in place by the NFL to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL has a moratorium in place on teams hosting prospects on pre-draft visits and attending pro-day workouts, both of which were considered crucial to the evaluation of injured Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“The medical on Tua is going to be difficult, obviously, with the current situation,” Kiper said. “This is a year where you would need all of the medical that you can get, all the meetings you can get. All the things you need in terms of due diligence on Tua with the medical, and you’re not going to have that opportunity. So is a team going to trade up without that type of information? We’ll see.”
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Tagovailoa fractured and dislocated his hip in a November game last season against Mississippi State.
He said at the NFL combine last month that he was on schedule with his rehab and was planning to have a personal pro day workout April 9.
On Monday, Tagovailoa tweeted a 10-second video of him going through a quarterback workout in which he moved smoothly while dropping back, sliding to his right and throwing the football.
[ Lions eye Tua Tagovailoa as unique chance, but also big gamble on health ]
“Practicing social distancing with the long ball today,” Tagovailoa wrote. “Feels good to spin it again. #Process.”
Kiper said the video was “nice to see,” but doesn’t answer every question teams have about one of the draft’s top prospects regardless of position.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to go No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is the favorite to go No. 2 to Washington.
The Lions at No. 3 should have their choice of Tagovailoa or one of the draft’s second-tier of defensive prospects, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or Clemson hybrid Isaiah Simmons, or they could trade down to a quarterback-needy team like the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 or Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6.
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The Lions were planning to host Tagovailoa on a pre-draft visit before the moratorium went into effect.
“Teams now don’t have a lot to go by, so that’s certainly something that (looks) promising,” Kiper said of the video. “It’s going to be very interesting with an April 23 draft coming up in less than now a month, what’s going to happen there, whether like I said, a team’s going to trade up to get a quarterback that has an iffy situation medically coming off that injury, and then there’s the durability concern which you can’t predict how that’s going to go, even once he’s healthy.”
Tagovailoa, who also had surgery on both ankles in college, recently underwent a four-month medical exam by Alabama team surgeon Dr. E. Lyle Cain in which he was cleared to resume football activities.
He’s expected to hold virtual workouts for NFL teams interested in seeing his progress in the coming weeks and will undergo a local medical recheck next month since the NFL’s combine medical recheck in Indianapolis is postponed.
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Even with the medical concerns, Kiper doesn’t see Tagovailoa falling far in next month’s draft.
He said whatever team drafts Tagovailoa should be planning to “let his body heal” by making him a backup this season, and he gave Tagovailoa to the Dolphins at No. 5 in latest mock. In his previous mock draft, Kiper slotted Tagovailoa to the Lions at No. 3.
“If everything would have been perfect, perfect world this year and everything’s been done the way it’s always been done, you still have the durability concerns,” Kiper said. “Even if he is medically cleared and everything looks OK with the hip and progress is being made and all that, you still have three separate injuries that all occurred. And can he take hits? Can he sustain hits and still come back and be healthy from those hits?
“Durability for Tua would still be a question regardless if this was a perfect draft case scenario or draft process scenario.”
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.
Published at Wed, 25 Mar 2020 20:04:54 +0000