“If there is one rumor that has seemed to pop up every single day in the lead up to the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s that the Detroit Lions could try to trade up in the draft to select Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.”- Bryan Fischer
There were several articles that I could have linked to about this very same topic, but I chose this one because of three little words: every single day. The Lions want Sammy Watkins. The Lions have Sammy Watkins in for a visit. The Lions should draft Sammy Watkins. The Lions need Sammy Watkins. The Lions MUST draft Sammy Watkins. THE GODS DEMAND THAT THE LIONS DRAFT SAMMY WATKINS.
Of course, not everyone thinks the Lions will draft Sammy Watkins. Some think they’ll draft Mike Evans or Eric Ebron instead. Some think they should draft the best defensive player available, but that’s only what they think they should do. Many draftniks who say that sound unconfident about it actually happening.
Golden Tate is in a perfect situation. He’s a quality wide receiver playing the number two role in a productive, pass-heavy offense. It doesn’t hurt that the guy playing across from him is a coverage magnet. Why, there’s not even a quality number three WR or high-quality TE to draw targets away from him.
Oh wait, that last part might be a problem. The Lions know Kris Durham is a bum, and they know they can’t count on Ryan Broyles. Even after signing Tate and re-signing Brandon Pettigrew, they still need to add bodies.
Some balk at how invested in their receivers the Lions would be if they drafted a WR in the first round. But do you remember that offense that just broke every meaningful passing record in NFL history? Remember how it had three high-quality WRs and a high-quality TE? Yeah, I’m betting the Lions remember too.
Tate’s outlook now is almost too good to be true. He’s locked in for five years across from the most feared receiver in the NFL, while catching passes from Matthew Stafford. If you can imagine a situation that would increase his current value, let me know in the comments, because I really can’t.
Of course, they might not draft Sammy Watkins. It could be Evans or Ebron. Or it could even be any number of promising WRs who inspire hope who slip to them in the second round. If that happens, Golden Tate’s value instantly decreases.
Tate’s outlook if they draft somebody else is significantly worse. He would be their WR2/3 this year, and then slide into their WR3 role after that. Or, if they draft Ebron and he really is all that and [insert your favorite kind of chips here], WR2 on a team that has an elite TE, uses a lot of two TE sets, and likes to throw to their RBs. It’s possible the Lions manifest the second coming of the 2013 Broncos, but I’m not counting on it.
The point is that Tate’s value is not going to improve from here, at least not significantly. Depending on what the Lions do in the draft, it could decrease dramatically. If you can trade Tate for fair value, do it now. You can’t go wrong with fair value, and hey, you’ll probably make a profit compared to what you paid to acquire him initially. But if you hold on to Tate, you might be holding the hot potato when Detroit turns in their draft card.