At this moment, Donovan McNabb is on his way home wondering if he’s just played his last game as a Philadelphia Eagle. He knows the sports talk shows and local Eagles fans aren’t going to be very forgiving after this loss. They never are. He knows he didn’t have the best protection or receivers to work with, yet he’ll still be the one facing the fire. If the Eagles and McNabb were to finally part ways this offseason, most parties involved would be happier than before.
Also at this moment, Detroit Lions' rookie general manager Martin Mayhew is wondering what to do about having the top overall pick in the NFL Draft that’s just three months away. He knows that from now until the end of his time with Detroit, whenever that date may come, he will be judged by his first selection. He knows that whether he decides to select a strong-armed quarterback or a beastly left tackle, and sports talk shows and Lions' fans are going to criticize the direction the Lions are headed. They always do.
One single trade could put both teams in a better situation than the one they are dwelling in today: Detroit sends its top overall draft pick to Philadelphia for one of their first round picks (#22 overall) and Donovan McNabb.
Why this works for Detroit
Detroit has far too many holes on both offense and defense. If the Lions could make a move to turn their number one pick into multiple picks or players, they should. The big debate among Lions' followers is who to take between Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Andre Smith and Michael Oher. Not one of these players is head and shoulders above another yet none of them have much of a chance of making it to Detroit’s #20 overall selection in the first round.
Landing a quarterback and offensive line help is a step in the right direction, but this also neglects their NFL-worst defense. There is not one defensive prospect worth taking with top overall pick, and the Lions' defense needs more than one defensive player to make any differences.
The featured trade brings a veteran quarterback in need of a change of scenery to a team in need of serious leadership. Then, with the #20 and #22 picks in the first round, the Lions could look at building the offensive line and defense.
Why this works for Philadelphia
The Eagles could go a few different directions with this deal. First and foremost, they would be rid of the city’s favorite scapegoat in McNabb. Kevin Kolb, start warming up, this may be your time to shine.
Then, with the top pick in the draft, Philadelphia could take whom they see as the top offensive tackle in the draft. Tra Thomas is a free agent and is not getting any younger. A powerful, young tackle to protect the new kid in the pocket could equate success and build confidence in Kolb.
Or, the Eagles could use the top pick to replace McNabb. Could Stafford or Sanchez be the next promising arm to put the Eagles over the top? Philadelphia would still have another first round pick, #28 overall from Carolina, to fulfill other needs.
Both of these teams could have successful offseasons without this trade, but do the Eagles want to delay the replacement of McNabb any longer? I’m sure fans in Philly are eager to try Kolb, Stafford or Sanchez behind the center as opposed to “the guy who loses the big games.”
The Lions’ history of top draft picks doesn’t fare too positively. I’m sure the fans in the Motor City will immediately be haunted by visions of Joey Harrington if the top pick goes to Stafford or Sanchez.
For the sake of the fans and the futures of both teams, let’s hope Eagles general manager Tom Heckert and Mayhew get together for a cheese steak before April 25th and talk a little football.