On Friday, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn made his first ever draft day trade, and it just so happened to be with his former team, the New England Patriots.
While fans are almost unanimously in favor of trading down to acquire more picks, some were not pleased with the timing of this trade down. Fan favorites like Toledo running back Kareem Hunt, Texas running back D’Onta Foreman and Michigan corner Jourdan Lewis were still on the board at pick 85, and all were gone by the time the Lions were back on the clock at pick 96.
But Quinn received a few offers for his pick, and ended up getting a great deal on the trade. “So we had a couple of trade options,” Quinn said Friday night. “ I thought that was good value.”
Let’s break down just how good of value the Lions got with that trade.
- Patriots third-round pick (96 overall)
- Patriots fourth-round pick (124 overall)
- Lions third-round pick (85 overall)
According to the old draft trade charts, the Lions received 164 “points” of draft capital while the Patriots got 165. That’s just about as even of a trade as you can expect.
However, that draft trade chart is considered wildly out of date. Chase Stuart from Football Perspective created an modern draft pick value calculator in 2013 that better reflects the current value of each NFL Draft pick. In this chart, the Lions received 9.4 “points” to the Patriots’ 6.3. This is a clear and decisive victory for Detroit in terms of value.
96 + 124 for 85 is 99% on Jimmy Johnson chart, 149% on @fbgchase's. NE must've really liked Garcia, rare to see them give up that much.— Tom Gower (@ThomasGower) April 29, 2017
As pointed out by our own Andrew Kato, the Lions saw a wave of potential fits taken right before their selection at 85. Defensive line was—and remains—a huge need for the Lions. Then this happened:
Bob Quinn admitted that they kind of got stuck there. “The third round came around and it was kind of a strange round because it started off pretty slow and it was number of guys that we liked, and then all of a sudden there was a run on players,” Quinn said.
Though for you Chris Godwin fans, who was taken right before the Lions’ selection, Quinn denied he was not the catalyst of the trade.
You could make the argument that Quinn should have been more aggressive and traded up to take one of their guys earlier in the third, but if they liked Kenny Golladay, this trade was undoubtedly a success.
Between where the Lions traded out of (85) and where they ended up picking (96), no wide receivers were taken, meaning if the Lions’ pick would have been Golladay at 85, they essentially picked up a free fourth rounder and got him anyways at 96.
Lions didn’t actively pursue a trade down
Many people saw this trade down as a desperation move for the Lions, whose best options appeared to be all gone. While Quinn admits there was a run on his favorite players, he said on Friday night that it was pressure from the other side of the trade that made this transaction hard to pass up. “Some of those trades are kind of worked out contingent on the team that’s on the clock,” Quinn said. “But, you know, that one was kind of done. It was actually more on the other side. We were waiting for them to kind of say yeah I’ll do it or not.”
In other words, this was the Patriots waiting to see if their guy was on the clock at 85. If he was, the trade was already in place for them. That player turned out to be offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, a player the Lions likely had no interest in and one the Patriots objectively overpaid for.
Put Quinn’s first draft day trade in the win column.
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