In a perfect world, Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher would fall to the No. 5 overall pick on Thursday, allowing the Detroit Lions to land one of the top players in the 2013 NFL Draft and fill one of their top needs at the same time. The Lions wouldn't really have a tough decision to make with the fifth overall pick. They could simply take Fisher and celebrate the fact that they improved their offensive line in a big way.
The reality of the situation is that there's a very good chance Fisher won't make it to No. 5 overall. In fact, based on the latest buzz surrounding the draft, Fisher might not even make it to No. 3 overall. A lot of people believe the first two picks will be Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and Fisher, which would be very bad news for the Lions. This could push Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson up to No. 4 overall, leaving the Lions without a top option at offensive tackle to take with their first-round pick.
The other issue the Lions are facing when it comes to landing a top offensive tackle is the possibility of a team trading up ahead of them. There has been a lot of talk about the Jacksonville Jaguars or Philadelphia Eagles taking a tackle, but we haven't really considered the possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving down from the third overall pick. A tackle-needy team like the Arizona Cardinals could decide to trade up to prevent the Lions from taking Fisher, and that's exactly what Rotoworld's Josh Norris has happening in his latest 2013 NFL mock draft.
The obvious solution to this problem for the Lions is for them to trade up to make sure they land one of the top offensive tackles. If Fisher is there at No. 3, the Lions could decide that it's worth spending a few extra picks to get their man. The same could be true if Joeckel and Fisher go in the top two and it's looking like Johnson won't fall to No. 5.
What exactly would the Lions have to give up to jump up two spots? It's tough to say simply because the trade value charts of old don't necessarily reflect the worth of top picks today given what rookies are now paid. Values have changed, and a lot depends on what position you're trading up to take. Moving up to get a quarterback will cost you more than a tackle, for example.
Perhaps the best example of this kind of deal is what the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns did last year. The Browns gave up picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds to move up from No. 4 to No. 3. Might the cost be something similar for the Lions if they want to jump up two spots to No. 3? Perhaps you'd have to throw in a third-round pick instead of a fourth, but that seems like a good starting point for a possible deal.
What this ultimately boils down to is where the top offensive tackles rank on the Lions' draft board and how big of a gap there is between them and players at other positions. If the Lions feel comfortable with missing out on a tackle and landing someone like Ezekiel Ansah, Dee Milliner or even Chance Warmack, there's no real need to trade up and surrender extra picks. But if the Lions think that Fisher is the best player in the draft or that they can't afford to miss out on a top tackle, then they could justify moving up, even if it would cost them a few extra picks.
Do you think the Lions would be wise to make a move up, or are they better off staying put? In other words, would you rather guarantee that the Lions will land one of the top tackles, or would you rather they have more picks later on in the draft?