At the owners meeting last month, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn suggested that he may want to trade down in next week’s NFL Draft. He said he’s “absolutely” interested in gaining more picks. The Lions currently only have six picks, which would be their fewest amount of picks in a draft since 2011, when the Lions only made five selections.
Quinn addressed the media again on Thursday, and he continues to suggest that he’d like to trade down and garner more picks.
“I’m always in the business of getting more draft picks,” Quinn said during Thursday’s press conference. “I think that’s just good for business. The more you get, the more you’re going to hit on, so if we can acquire more picks, that would be something I’d look forward to.”
While it’s important to always be wary of anything a general manager says this close to the draft, this philosophy mirrors the “always trade down” mantra that has become ever so popular in New England.
And the Lions may have an opportunity to do so in the first round. With a wide selection of viable players likely to be there when the Lions are on the clock—including defensive linemen, offensive guards and running backs—Detroit could be in a perfect position to trade back a few spot and still get one of their main targets in the first round.
However, there needs to be a willing partner to make a trade, and Quinn admitted last month that’s not as always easy as it sounds. “It’s easier said than done. Sometime those things really can’t happen until draft day or draft weekend,” Quinn said at the owner’s meetings.
One scenario in which the Lions could potentially trade back is if one of the top quarterback prospects falls to 20th overall. Teams like the Patriots (23rd and 31st pick), Saints (27th) and Steelers (28th), who have great, but aging quarterbacks, could be interested in finally getting their successor.
Whatever happens, the Lions moving back makes a lot of sense for the franchise. Detroit has a handful of serious needs, and limited cap space to address them outside of the draft. But with only six picks in the draft, they aren’t likely to be able to address them all unless they acquire more picks.
However, every team in the NFL would prefer to have more draft picks, so they won’t be the only team seeking a trade down on draft day.
And if Bob Quinn is truly interested in swinging an early trade in the draft, he’ll have to break his current trend in draft day tendencies. The Lions have only traded once during Quinn’s reign as general manager. In 2017, the Lions moved down 11 spots in the third round, picking up an extra fourth round pick and snagging Kenny Golladay at the bottom of the third round. Detroit would end up using that extra pick on linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin. He’ll have to pull of another trade like that this year if he wants to live up to his word.