Why exactly did the Detroit Lions decide to trade down five spots in the first round on Thursday night? On the surface, there simply seemed to be more value in adding two fifth-round picks and offensive lineman Manny Ramirez. Plus, by only dropping five spots, the Lions were able to add even more O-line depth by taking Duke offensive guard Laken Tomlinson.
Another potential factor in the Lions' decision to trade down surprisingly might have revolved around what the Philadelphia Eagles did with the 20th overall pick. The Eagles selected USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor, and CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora suggested on Friday that Agholor was the Lions' target at No. 23 overall:
And, with Nelson Agholor gone, Detroit was able to trade down with Denver, get an immediate starter on the offensive line -- Manny Ramirez -- and then take another offensive lineman with its pick. Seeing how Dallas took the next step after rebuilding its line may have caught the Lions' attention.
Now, that's not outright saying that the Lions would not have traded down if Agholor were still available, but that's certainly an interesting scenario to consider. Had the Eagles gone in a different direction, perhaps the Lions would have stayed at 23 to take Agholor. I can't imagine the move would have been received very positively, but Agholor would certainly have helped upgrade the Lions' wide receiving corps, and he also would have been a big upgrade at returner.
In any case, I'm pretty happy with the way things actually turned out for the Lions. Getting a Day 1 starter at left guard, a fifth-round pick this year, a fifth-round pick next year and an experienced veteran at offensive guard/center is more valuable in my book than a first-round wide receiver.