Patriots: Lions trading Matthew Stafford actually helps New England in the draft

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 26: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 26: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

When Matthew Stafford requested a trade out of Detroit, Patriots fans immediately pushed the team to orchestrate a deal for him. Given that they’re in the market for a quarterback this offseason, the 32-year-old seemed like the ideal candidate to help get them back in the playoffs.

That, of course, is assuming other additions (like at tight end and receiver) were made in free agency. Then, however, a report broke that the Patriots weren’t one of the handful of teams in on the Stafford sweepstakes because he crossed them off as a potential destination.

Regardless of what that decision boiled down to, the Patriots now have to go back to the drawing board to find a quarterback, and it’s looking like their best option will end up being to draft one of the top prospects available at No. 15 overall. Luckily for them, the Lions’ likely won’t be drafting a QB since they acquired Jared Goff in the blockbuster.

The Lions trading Matthew Stafford is actually a blessing in disguise for the Patriots.

As Jeff Howe of The Athletic illustrates, had Detroit unloaded Stafford for solely draft compensation, chances are they would use their No. 7 overall pick on a quarterback. That would further complicate things for the Patriots, as it would’ve added another team to the mix that was looking to potentially snag one of the top signal callers off the board.

Seeing as though the Lions are tied to Goff and his albatross of a contract, they will probably end up using that selection to fill another position of need. They could even trade back with a quarterback-needy team who doesn’t want to risk losing their guy by holding their ground with their current spot, and load up on even more draft capital.

Now with the Lions out, here’s who could be taking a QB ahead of the Pats:

  • Jaguars (likely)
  • Jets (somewhat likely)
  • Falcons (likely)
  • Panthers (closer to unlikely)
  • Broncos (closer to unlikely)

The 49ers and Vikings could also be potential options assuming there remains uncertainty with Jimmy Garoppolo and Kirk Cousins, but right now, they have no reason to draft a QB.

With no scouting combine to compare and contrast prospects, nobody knows how the draft will play out. With that being said, however, it’s reasonable to assume that at least three quarterbacks will be off the board by the time the Patriots are set to pick at No. 15 overall.

Had the Lions not acquired Goff, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they select the guy New England had circled on their draft boards, so fans at least have that silver lining for the time being.