Most believe that Washington will either trade out of the second overall pick, or use it to select Chase Young. But, what if they take Tua instead?
As soon as they locked up the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, pundits everywhere began mocking Chase Young to Washington. It makes sense, too. He’s not only the best defensive player in the draft, he’s also the best player in the class and could be the best edge rushing prospect in five years or better.
Couple that with the fact that Washington has invested significant capital in the quarterback position (a second round pick in 2019 in Alex Smith, a first round pick just last year in Dwayne Haskins, and a fifth round pick this year for Kyle Allen) and has a new defensive-minded head coach in Ron Rivera – and the writing is on the wall for what happens at No. 2 overall, right?
But what if we’re all wrong? What if Rivera understands and knows that Kyle Allen is a serviceable backup who knows what he wants to accomplish on offense, but also recognizes that the 17-to-16 touchdown to interception ratio and 6-7 career record owned by Allen are not flukey numbers, and are not good enough to get the job down in the nations capitol? What if the team decides to swing big for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa?
Well, the reality is that it would set off a massive chain reaction in the 2020 draft. The list of implications includes:
Alex Smith still has a place as a mentor in Washington
Once cleared to play, veteran Alex Smith would be on the trading block (and may be already). He could be a great quarterback option for places hoping to groom a young rookie like the New England Patriots, LA Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders or Miami Dolphins. Just look at what Smith did for Patrick Mahomes’ career. If Smith is healthy, he’s a great bridge quarterback for teams to consider, and drafting Tua ensures he’s on the move.
An uncertain future for Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins would make it two years in a row when a 1st round quarterback is traded just one year later for a newer, flashier rookie. The Arizona Cardinals and their first year head coach Kliff Kingsbury set the precedent last year of a head coach taking their pick at quarterback with the number one overall selection of Kyler Murray and subsequent trade of 2018 first rounder Josh Rosen to Miami. Washington selected Tua makes it almost certain the same fate awaits Haskins, likely to a team that is too late in the first round to nab one of the four first round quarterbacks this year. Think teams like New England, Las Vegas, Miami or Minnesota here.
Detroit Lions all of a sudden have extreme trade value at No. 3 overall
Detroit opens bidding for the rights to select Chase Young. The Lions are assured of being in a great spot with No. 3 overall, but a terrific place would be for the draft’s best player to still be on the board when the clock starts. Potential trade partners for the Lions with Young on the board Jacksonville, Arizona, and Carolina.
Obviously there are a lot of other implications involved here, too.
If quarterbacks go 1, 2, does someone get trigger-happy and trade up to No. 3 to take Justin Herbert?
Maybe so, but it seems unlikely. It does not seem to be on the radar for Miami; the Chargers likely think they can stand pat at No. 6 and take him and the cost is simply too high for the Raiders or Patriots to make that leap for what they perceive as a massive drop-off for the third best pick in the draft.
What kind of return does Washington get for their quarterbacks on the trade block?
The bar was set here last year with Miami giving up a second round pick for Josh Rosen when the Cardinals took Murray number one. It seems likely that Washington could look for similar compensation.
The Alex Smith question is a little puzzling. Certainly COVID-19 putting the kibosh on all physicals for the moment complicates a trade for the former number one overall pick who is 18 months removed from his last game action. But, it feels like a Bill Belichick type move to give up something like a 5th round pick on the savvy veteran and turn him in to a Pro Bowler en route to another AFC East championship.
Time will tell what ultimately happens when Washington goes on the clock. The most likely scenario continues to be that they trade back with someone else who wants to draft Tua. But, if Rivera and Washington decide to take the gamble, the rest of the draft gets very, very interesting.