Detroit Lions get 88th pick in NFL draft from Golden Tate trade
In a weird bit of irony, the Detroit Lions got a glimpse of what the third-round pick they got for Golden Tate could look like days after they dealt Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles at October’s trade deadline.
With no Tate on the field, the Lions struggled to move the ball offensively against the Minnesota Vikings and allowed a season-high 10 sacks, 3.5 of them to Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Hunter was the 88th pick of the 2015 NFL draft, acquired by the Vikings after a trade down with the Lions.
The Lions, who moved up to select cornerback Alex Carter in that draft, will have the No. 88 overall pick again this year, a selection that was finalized Sunday when the Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Hunter is the exception to what’s typically available late in Round 3 and qualifies, easily, as the best No. 88 pick of the last decade.
Of the last 10 players taken No. 88 overall, Hunter was the only full-time starter for his team this year, though several others have made important, even Super Bowl-winning contributions.
Nick Foles replaced an injured Carson Wentz to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl last year, and teamed with Tate to take Philadelphia back to the playoffs this season.
Former Lions receiver Andre Roberts, who was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return man this season, was the 88th overall pick in the 2010 draft. And the Green Bay Packers took linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Oren Burks with the No. 88 picks in the 2016 and 2018 drafts, respectively.
Fackrell led the Packers with 10.5 sacks this season, while Burks made four starts and played mostly as a backup.
Among other recent No. 88 picks, cornerback Lardarius Webb (2009) has had the most successful career. He was on the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII championship team, though he missed the second half of that season with a torn ACL.
Webb, like recent No. 88 picks Johnny Patrick (2011) and Corey Lemonier (2013), is currently out of the NFL, and two other players taken at that draft spot — defensive linemen Will Clarke (2014) and Eddie Vanderdoes (2017) — saw little or no playing time this season, with Vanderdoes spending the year on the physically unable to perform list.
The Lions have done a good job with their third-round picks under general manager Bob Quinn, finding starters in 2016 (Graham Glasgow) and 2017 (Kenny Golladay), plus key backup Tracy Walker this season.
Glasgow was taken 95th overall in Quinn’s first draft as Lions GM, Golladay was picked 96th, after the Lions traded down from the 85th spot, and Walker 82nd overall.
The Lions also have picks No. 8 and 43 in the first and second rounds, single picks in the fourth and fifth rounds, and two picks each in Rounds 6 and 7. The exact number of each of the Lions’ Day 3 picks will be determined later this spring, after compensatory draft picks are awarded.
The Lions are not expected to receive any comp picks this year.
Quinn, who has a top-10 pick for the first time in his career, said having that high of a selection won’t change his approach to things other than he’ll have to go in-depth studying all of the players at the top of the draft.
“I think I’ve said this in the past, either pre-draft or during the draft, when you’re drafting at 21 or even 16, there’s five or six players you don’t really even spend a lot of time on because you just know they’re going to go in the top couple and you know you’re not trading up because you don’t have the ammunition to go there,” Quinn said. “So it just widens the pool a little bit. We’re going to have to look at basically every player in that, say, top 15, because you want to make sure if someone slips to you, you’re ready and you’re prepared to draft them, and the evaluation is spot on. It just opens it up a little bit more.”
As for Tate, the Lions’ leader in receptions from 2014-17, he told reporters after the Eagles’ loss Sunday that he hopes to re-sign with Philadelphia or join another team that’s close to winning a Super Bowl when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in March.
“I want to go to a team that has a chance,” Tate said in video posted by long-time NFL reporter Geoff Mosher. “My years are limited. I don’t have time to go to someone who’s trying to rebuild. I need to go somewhere where they believe they can win now.”
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