On Monday, ESPN published a piece titled, “Re-drafting the NFL: We picked 128 foundational players across all 32 teams.” In the piece, writers conducted the ultimate re-draft where teams had to select a quarterback, a non-QB offensive player and a defensive player. The fourth pick was a wild card, where any position could be selected.
In the re-draft, the Detroit Lions had the No. 3 overall pick and their pretend general manager was Michael Rothstein.
As you can see below, Rothstein used the No. 3 overall pick to select the reigning NFL MVP, Lamar Jackson.
Drafted by Michael Rothstein, Lions reporter
I thought about defense at No. 3 overall, but taking a quarterback seemed like a must. And when Jackson — who I thought would go No. 1 or No. 2 — fell to me, it seemed too good to be true. Beyond that, I made the decision to go with two defensive players before the draft even started, given the league’s lean toward passing. Since I couldn’t find any young pass-rushers I loved on the board when I was again on the clock, I instead decided to make my secondary dominant with James and White. And then I gave Jackson a speedy option to work with Moore, who can line up almost anywhere.
Safety might not seem like a ton of value, but James gives me protection against both the run and pass, and he was a player I keyed on from the beginning for my roster. Age also played a part in how I built my team. I want ascending players as franchise cornerstones to build around, knowing they can still get better over the next three seasons. I found that in all four players. — Rothstein
Stat to know: Moore ranked ninth in the NFL with 1,175 receiving yards in 2019 despite catching passes from three different quarterbacks. He’ll settle in nicely with Jackson, who set an NFL QB rushing record with 1,206 rush yards last season but also had a league-high 36 passing TDs.
Mike Clay’s draft grade: Tier 1. The reigning MVP at third overall? That will do. Round 2 is a little early for a safety, as Rothstein alluded to, but James is a star. White was a steal at No. 67, and Moore is a good value at No. 126.
Nation, what grade do you give this fictional re-draft?