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Detroit Lions mailbag: Should the Lions stop trading with the Patriots?

Looking at the trade history, has it all be as one-sided as it seems?

NFL: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

We’re heading back into the Detroit Lions mailbag. If you’d like to participate in the mailbag, you can Tweet at us anytime using the hashtag #AskPOD. If Twitter isn’t your thing, wait for the Ask POD post here at Pride of Detroit, which usually drops on Friday or Saturday.

Onto the questions:

From JeffBackusThatAssUp:

What are your takes on the history of Quinn’s trades with the Pats? Who has gotten the better of the deals overall? I wouldn’t go as far as to say we are a farm team for the Pats, but I am having a tough time seeing where we are coming out ahead. It makes sense to work with someone you are familiar with, especially if they are out of division/conference, but the benefits for the Leos seem lacking.

Great question. Let’s break down each:

9/2/17 - Lions trade Johnson Bademosi for 2019 sixth-round pick

Just before the season began, the Detroit Lions sent special teams ace Johnson Bademosi to the Patriots. he would end up playing all 16 games (three starts) for New England, but wasn’t re-signed after the year.

The Lions would end up using that sixth-round pick to move up in the third round to grab Will Harris from Boston College.

The Patriots probably got the better end but not by much.

10/25/16 - Lions trade Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots for seventh-round pick

Yeah, we know how this one turned out. It was a disaster, but also Van Noy was just a really bad fit in Detroit at the time. Regardless, it’s still a pretty ugly mark, even if it kind of made sense at the time.

5/9/16 - Patriots trade Jon Bostic to Lions for 2017 seventh-round pick

This is a draw. Bostic was poised to potentially be a starter or prime backup in Detroit, but he suffered a season-ending leg injury in a joint practice and never played a down for the Lions. Therefore the conditions were not met, and the Lions lost nothing.

Draft trades

2018: Lions traded up 8 spots to get Kerryon Johnson, costing them a fourth-round pick

Personally wasn’t a fan of the move, but time will tell.

2018: Lions traded 2019 third-round pick for 2018 fourth-round pick (Da’Shawn Hand)

It’s always hard for me to accept trading a third-round pick for a fourth-round pick, even if it’s in the future. Bbut so far, so good with this Lions trade.

2017: Lions trade down 11 spots in third round, get fourth-round pick

The Lions got Kenny Golladay and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. The Patriots got Antonio Garcia. Garcia never played a snap for New England. That’s a big win for Detroit.

~~

That’s it, and honestly, it’s not that bad for Detroit. They were clear losers in one trade, and only a small loss with Bademosi. Draft day trades have clearly gone in the Lions favor thus far, though that has more to do with what each team has done with the picks than the actual trade.

I get the fear trading with the Patriots. They make a lot of teams look silly. But Bob Quinn has started to reach out to other teams and he hasn’t done all that bad with New England.

Permanently, probably not. Situationally, absolutely. We hear all the time how the Lions value versatility, and it’s not just cheap talk. Detroit wants to use their players in multiple roles to confuse the defense, and it’s no secret that Jarrad Davis has a ton of talent as a pass rusher. On situational plays—see: third-and-long—you should absolutely expect to see Davis moved around to the outside. However, I still think this team likes him as the play-caller of the defense, regardless of drafted Jahlani Tavai.

Absolutely, they should. In fact, depending on what metric you use, they already have. Personally, I’m a bigger fan of efficiency numbers than total yardage. So things like DVOA or even as simple as yards per carry are more indicative of a better running game. Typically teams that lead the league in rushing yards are teams that run the ball a lot. Teams the run the ball a lot are typically teams that are playing with a lead. None of those describe any Lions team from the past 20 years.

Last year, Detroit made a huge jump from 3.4 yards per carry (32nd) to 4.1 yards per carry (26th). Obviously, there’s still room to improve, but with Kerryon Johnson—who was second among RBs with 5.4 yards per carry—and C.J. Anderson—who has never averaged less than 4.0 YPC in a season—there’s no reason to believe Detroit should struggle on the ground.

But will they be in the top half of the league in terms of overall yardage? Well, they’re probably going to have to win a lot of games to do that. Obviously, they want to run the ball a lot more, but the game situation has to dictate it, too. I think the Lions finish in the top 10 in terms of yards per carry, but may stay out of the top half in overall yards.

From critical perspective

Which Lions players would you guess just completed what will ultimately be the best season of their career?

A good, albeit depressing question. I think the easy answer here is Zach Zenner. Last year, he finished with 265 yards, which isn’t the most of his career, but his 4.8 yards per carry blew his career average out of the water. It’s a sign that Detroit’s running game is headed in the right direction.

But looking ahead, Zenner is very much on the roster bubble again, and unless there’s a major injury in the depth chart ahead of him, it’s hard to see how the Lions running back gets any significant touches this year.

I’ll take the easy route here on defense and say Domata Peko. Regardless of what happens with Damon Harrison Sr., it makes sense to have a veteran backup nose tackle who can essentially do all the things Snacks does to a lesser degree. Detroit doesn’t have much in terms of backup nose tackles, so Peko is an easy addition.

Offensively, I think one of their bigger needs is offensive tackle depth. I don’t think there’s anyone they can pick off the street to compete for a starting left guard job, so might as well add some depth to the edges, as I don’t have a ton of faith in the likes of Andrew Donnal or Ryan Pope (just yet). Give me a veteran guy like Jermey Parnell or Ryan Schraeder, the latter of which graded out as a top-15 run blocking tackle last year with the Falcons.

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