I'm going to challenge conventional wisdom, a little bit, that says trading down is usually good for rebuilding teams that have a lot of needs, while trading up is usually good for good teams that are "one player away" or teams who need a franchise QB.
My question is...are there any prospects in this draft who, if they slipped into the 20's-ish, you would be comfortable seeing the Lions trade UP for?
Keep in mind realistic value...
Trading up from #34 all the way to #20 would probably cost us our high third-round pick.
Trading up from #34 to #25 would probably require swapping our high-third for their low-fourth.
Trading up from #34 to #30 would probably cost us our fifth and sixth (or swapping our fourth for their sixth)
If I there was one player I would trade up for, it would be Mike Iupati, G, Idaho. I don't think he makes it past Dallas at #27, but if Baltimore or Arizona would trade us their #25 or #26 for our #34 (and we'd swap our high-third at #66 for their low-fourth--#120-ish depending on compensatory awards), I'd be happy with the trade.
I would support this for a combination of reasons.
1. There is probably not a Guard after Iupati who is worth #34, and since Mayhew will certainly go BPA, that means we probably won't take a Guard at #34.
2. If we then take a Guard in the 3rd or 4th round he may be better long-term than Manny Ramirez, the last G we took with a 4th round pick, but a rookie almost certainly will not be better in his first year--going up against NFL DT's every game.
3. With the thin crop of free agents, we could hope to get a Guard that some other team let go--but how would this strategy likely get us a better player than Daniel Loper? I don't think it would. Teams tend to hang on to good O-Linemen, and it will be easier than ever for them to do it this year with the 2010 FA rules and no salary cap.
4. Left Guard is an immediate need for the Lions. We cannot be weak in the middle of the O-Line expect to generate a running game or protect the QB. I don't want to go into another season worrying about Backus getting overwhelmed, Stafford getting beat up, and Calvin Johnson getting triple-teamed because our interior OL can't generate a push for the run game.
5. Mike Iupati looks like a damn dominant Guard. He really impressed the coaching staff in the Senior Bowl practices (although he struggled a little bit when they moved him all around, so he should probably just settle into LG and stay there). I think he would very quickly be an immediate improvement over Loper/Jansen/Ramirez/other. There is probably a big drop-off after Iupati in terms of what kind of production we can expect immediately, and a drop-off in the long-term potential too.
6. His hair is like Fabio. It's flowing. It's beautiful. no homo, but I bet he gets more hair action than Stafford. Well, maybe not quite.
I'd swap a high-third for a low-fourth to make this happen. Would you?
Anybody else you'd like to see the Lions move up to get?