This Patriots-Lions Draft Day Trade to Get Justin Herbert to New England Could Actually Work

Justin Herbert
Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert | Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions hold the most powerful position in this year's NFL Draft, which is now just weeks away. With Joe Burrow and Chase Young essentially sure bets for the first two picks, the Lions conveniently sit at No. 3 and are reportedly quite willing to trade down for the right offer should another team want to get their hands on Tua Tagovialoa or Justin Herbert.

The New England Patriots' PR campaign following Tom Brady's decision to move on to Tampa Bay was that they're all in on Jarrett Stidham. Yet, if you listen closely, you can hear some uncertainty about the Auburn product coming out of Foxborough. With that in mind, the Pats are reportedly VERY sold on Herbert, per the latest buzz.

A Bill Belichick-Matt Patricia trade for the right to select Herbert makes a ton of sense, but it'll be tough to complete for the Patriots. New England's first pick comes up at No. 23, and trading up 20 spots takes a lot of ammo.

Detroit does have a lot of roster holes to fill, and could use all the draft capital they can get in what's expected to be a loaded class at several positions of need for the Lions. Such a trade would cost New England their 2020 No. 23 selection as well as their 2021 first-round pick, for starters.

All told, the Patriots aren't about to mortgage their entire future like the Washington Redskins did in 2016 when they traded up just four spots for Robert Griffin III -- that cost them three future firsts and a second -- or the Chicago Bears in their deal to jump the 49ers for Mitchell Trubisky (a first-round pick along with a third, fifth and a future third). They'll likely need to convince Bob Quinn and Patricia that a package of, say, their next two first-round picks, two third-round picks (split between 2020 and 2021) and two sixth-round picks is generous enough. The good news for New England? They own three third-round picks, as well as a trifecta of sixth-rounders in this year's showcase.

However, it's fair for Patriots fans to prefer keeping as many of those picks as possible. An alternative would be dealing Stephon Gilmore, entering the final years of his contract, in a package of late picks for the No. 3 selection. Joe Thuney, a solid, young offensive lineman on the franchise tag, is another option to soften the blow, and a more likely option considering his age and the need for the kind of offensive line that can consistently protect Matthew Stafford.

Belichick has made his money on undervalued talent, and by dishing out so many picks in return for Herbert, he'd limits his odds of finding another late-round Pro Bowler in the rough. But if the Patriots trulu think they found their guy... who are we to argue?