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More Combine Rumors: Lions/Cardinals Trade

Over at AOL's FanHouse, a blogger suggests that the Lions and Cardinals may be in talks to trade draft picks along with throwing in a couple from later rounds.  

A source in Indianapolis says there's talk at the NFL scouting combine of the Arizona Cardinals swapping first-round picks with the Detroit Lions in an effort to bring Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas to Arizona.

The Lions own the second overall pick, and most mock drafts have them taking Thomas for themselves. The Cardinals have the fifth overall pick. According to the chart teams use in determining value of draft picks, to make it a fair trade, the Cardinals would probably have to throw in their second- and third-round picks in the deal.

At this point in time talks of trading draft picks could really mean absolutely nothing.  On the flip-side, discussion may be serious, but we are still quite a ways away from the draft.  Anything discussed could just be spur of the moment and never go anywhere.  However, since this possibility was raised, I'll give you my take on it.

Let's say Matt Millen does get this offer and makes the trade.  Detroit slides down to the fifth overall pick and Arizona moves up to second.  Obviously, Arizona would take Joe Thomas, meaning the Lions' as of right now first choice is off the table.  Along with Thomas, I'd expect JaMarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson to be gone by #5, and probably even Adrian Peterson.  So the Lions now have a few options.  Millen, being that sliding down again could pick up another pick, might opt to trade down again slightly, or could go the route of taking a pick right there at #5.  Of the remaining selections available, a defensive lineman could be the choice.  

The pick at #5 isn't the biggest part of this trade.  Picking up a second and maybe even third round pick is where you find some of the hidden gems in the draft and can really address some of the needs.  With two additional picks, the Lions could still find an offensive lineman as well as other roster needs.

Looking at the opposite side of the spectrum, many would say to forget the trade with Arizona and just draft Joe Thomas.  I wouldn't disagree with that as Thomas really seems like the best pick for Detroit.  Not only has he impressed everyone at the combine, but he fits the Rod Marinelli mold of player and really would be a smart pick.  For years now, Matt Millen has opted to use Detroit's first round selections to go after the "sexy pick" you could say.  By that I mean drafting a player at the more noticeable positions, such as quarterback and wide receiver.  By going after a player like Joe Thomas, it gets a player that you can build your offensive line around and one that will fight in the trenches.

It really is hard to decide between making the trade and taking Joe Thomas.  Considering we're just now ending February, I couldn't make up my mind enough right now.  Things have to develop more and the free agency process has to be completed.  I'd say once April arrives and there's a better understanding of everything, my decision would be more clear cut.  However, for now, I'm leaning towards just drafting Joe Thomas and not goofing around with a trade that would prevent that.  Moving down a spot or two and getting Thomas still would be great, but if it was down to #5 and Thomas would be taken, then I'm not so sure I like that.  Thomas is someone that can improve the pass and rush blocking as well as become the face of Rod Marinelli's tough-minded attitude.  He is the best pick for the Lions.

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